Amnion-Based Scaffold with Enhanced Strength and Biocompatibility for In Vivo Vascular Repair

Megan Swim, Ambra Albertario, Dominga Iacobazzi, Massimo Caputo, Mohamed Ghorbel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
262 Downloads (Pure)


Current vascular replacement grafts used in congenital heart defect corrective surgery have poor longevity and growth potential. Recipient patients often require multiple reoperations. Tissue engineering has the promise to produce a graft with the potential to grow, remodel, and repair. In this study, we aimed at developing an amnion-based scaffold suitable for cardiovascular tissue engineering applications and in vivo usage. The developed human amnion-based scaffold was made by an enzymatic decellularization process followed by freeze-drying as a single or multilayered structure. These structures were compared to native amnion for seeded cell viability and biomechanical properties then tested for in vivo biocompatibility. Our results demonstrated that while native amnion tissue supported little cell growth, the decellularized-amnion allowed cell engraftment and survival. In addition, preservation of the scaffold by freeze-drying as a single layer allowed cell engraftment and growth. Multilayering the freeze-dried amnion scaffolds resulted in a similar cell growth potential of the single layered construct but superior mechanical strength. The multilayered construct showed in vitro biocompatibility with endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, cardiac myocytes, and thymus and cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). When implanted in a piglet model of left pulmonary artery grafting, the multilayered construct showed its in vivo suitability and biocompatibility for vascular repair as demonstrated by the development of newly formed endothelium in the intima, a smooth muscle cell-rich medial layer and an adventitia containing new vasa vasorum. In conclusion, our developed amnion-derived scaffold represents an off-the-shelf biocompatible structure that can be seeded with the patient's own MSCs to produce an autologous vascular graft.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-619
Number of pages17
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Issue number7-8
Early online date10 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • amnion
  • tissue engineering
  • decellularization
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • corrective heart surgery


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