Dynamic culture conditions to generate silk-based tissue-engineered vascular grafts
Tissue engineering is an alternative approach for the preparation of small-diameter (<6 mm) vascular grafts due to the potential to control thrombosis, anastomotic cellular hyperplasia and matrix production. This control also requires the maintenance of graft patency in vivo, appropriate mechanical properties and the formation of a functional endothelium. As a first step in generating such tissue-engineered vascular grafts (TEVGs), our objective was to develop a tissue-engineered construct that mimicked the structure of blood vessels using tubular electrospun silk fibroin scaffolds (ESFSs) with suitable mechanical properties. Human coronary artery smooth muscle cells (HCASMCs) and human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) were sequentially seeded onto the luminal surface of the tubular scaffolds and cultivated under physiological pulsatile flow. The results demonstrated that TEVGs under dynamic flow conditions had better outcome than static culture controls in terms of cell proliferation and alignment, ECM production and cell phenotype based on transcript and protein level assessments. The metabolic activity of HCASMCs present in the TEGs indicated the advantage of dynamic flow over static culture in effective nutrient and oxygen distribution to the cells. A matrigel coating as a basement membrane mimic for ECM significantly improved endothelium coverage and retention under physiological shear forces. The results demonstrate the successful integration of vascular cells into silk electrospun tubular scaffolds as a step toward the development of a TEVG similar to native vessels in terms of vascular cell outcomes and mechanical properties.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 30, Issue 19, July 2009, Pages 3213–3223