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A biodegradable synthetic graft for small arteries matches the performance of autologous vein in rat carotid arteries

Kee-Won Lee, Piyusha S. Gade, Liwei Dong, Zhaoxiang Zhang, Ali Mubin Aral, Jin Gao, Xiaochu Ding, Chelsea E.T. Stowell, Muhammad Umer Nisar, Kang Kim, Dieter P. Reinhardt, Mario G. Solari, Vijay S. Gorantla, Anne M. Robertson, Yadong Wang
Biomaterials2018
Autologous veins are the most widely used grafts for bypassing small arteries in coronary and peripheral arterial occlusive diseases. However, they have limited availability and cause donor- site morbidity. Here, we report a direct comparison of acellular biodegradable synthetic grafts and autologous veins as interposition grafts of rat carotid arteries, which is a good model for clinically relevant small arteries. Notably, extensive but transient infiltration of circulating monocytes at day 14 in synthetic grafts leads to a quickly-resolved inflammation and arterial-like tissue remodeling. The vein graft exhibits a similar inflammation phase except the prolonged presence of inflammatory monocytes. The walls of the remodeled synthetic graft contain many circumferentially aligned contractile non-proliferative smooth muscle cells (SMCs), collagen and elastin. In contrast, the walls of the vein grafts contain disorganized proliferating SMCs and thicken over time, suggesting the onset of stenosis. At 3 months, both grafts have a similar patency, extracellular matrix composition, and mechanical properties. Furthermore, synthetic grafts exhibit recruitment and re-orientation of newly synthesized collagen fibers upon mechanical loading. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a biodegradable synthetic vascular graft with a performance similar to an autologous vein in small artery grafting.
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