Thick PCL Fibers Improving Host Remodeling of PGS-PCL Composite Grafts Implanted in Rat Common Carotid Arteries

Jiayin Fu, Michael Wang, Iwijn De Vlaminck, Yadong Wang
Vasculopathy and the consequential ischemia are major medical challenges. Grafting is an effective treatment to vascular occlusion. However, autologous grafting, despite scarcity, is the only choice for small diameter blood vessels. Synthetic grafts can fill the gap if they can work satisfactorily in arterial circulation. Electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) sheathed porous poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS) vascular grafts have good performances in arterial circulation in abdominal aortas and carotid arteries in rats. However, a major issue associated with the graft remodeling in vivo is limited neo-tissue formation inside PCL sheaths. Small pores of PCL sheaths inhibit cell infiltration and migration. To increase porosity of PCL sheaths of PGS-PCL composite grafts, diameters of electrospun PCL fibers are increased. The thick PCL fibers encourage cell migration and elicit a higher degree of CD206+ cells. In addition, some of the CD206+ cells co-express vascular cell markers in the thick-fiber grafts. The thick-fiber grafts also show improved mechanical properties and a higher elastin and collagen content. The data demonstrate the feasibility of improving graft vascular remodeling by increasing PCL fiber diameters and the critical role of CD206+ cells during graft vascular remodeling.

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