Rapid Self-Assembly of Bioengineered Cardiovascular Bypass Grafts From Scaffold-Stabilized, Tubular Bilevel Cell Sheets. Circulation von Bornstädt, D., Wang, H., Paulsen, M. J., Goldstone, A. B., Eskandari, A., Thakore, A., Stapleton, L., Steele, A. N., Truong, V. N., Jaatinen, K., Hironaka, C., Woo, Y. J. 2018; 138 (19): 2130–44

Abstract

Cardiovascular bypass grafting is an essential treatment for complex cases of atherosclerotic disease. Because the availability of autologous arterial and venous conduits is patient-limited, self-assembled cell-only grafts have been developed to serve as functional conduits with off-the-shelf availability. The unacceptably long production time required to generate these conduits, however, currently limits their clinical utility. Here, we introduce a novel technique to significantly accelerate the production process of self-assembled engineered vascular conduits.Human aortic smooth muscle cells and skin fibroblasts were used to construct bilevel cell sheets. Cell sheets were wrapped around a 22.5-gauge Angiocath needle to form tubular vessel constructs. A thin, flexible membrane of clinically approved biodegradable tissue glue (Dermabond Advanced) served as a temporary, external scaffold, allowing immediate perfusion and endothelialization of the vessel construct in a bioreactor. Subsequently, the matured vascular conduits were used as femoral artery interposition grafts in rats (n=20). Burst pressure, vasoreactivity, flow dynamics, perfusion, graft patency, and histological structure were assessed.Compared with engineered vascular conduits formed without external stabilization, glue membrane-stabilized conduits reached maturity in the bioreactor in one-fifth the time. After only 2 weeks of perfusion, the matured conduits exhibited flow dynamics similar to that of control arteries, as well as physiological responses to vasoconstricting and vasodilating drugs. The matured conduits had burst pressures exceeding 500 mm?Hg and had sufficient mechanical stability for surgical anastomoses. The patency rate of implanted conduits at 8 weeks was 100%, with flow rate and hind-limb perfusion similar to those of sham controls. Grafts explanted after 8 weeks showed a histological structure resembling that of typical arteries, including intima, media, adventitia, and internal and external elastic membrane layers.Our technique reduces the production time of self-assembled, cell sheet-derived engineered vascular conduits to 2 weeks, thereby permitting their use as bypass grafts within the clinical time window for elective cardiovascular surgery. Furthermore, our method uses only clinically approved materials and can be adapted to various cell sources, simplifying the path toward future clinical translation.

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