OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to grow "artificial blood vessels" for autologous transplantation as arterial interposition grafts in a large animal model (dog).
METHOD AND RESULTS: Tubing up to 250 mm long, either bare or wrapped in biodegradable polyglycolic acid (Dexon) or nonbiodegradable polypropylene (Prolene) mesh, was inserted in the peritoneal or pleural cavity of dogs, using minimally invasive techniques, and tethered at one end to the wall with a loose suture. After 3 weeks the tubes and their tissue capsules were harvested, and the inert tubing was discarded. The wall of living tissue was uniformly 1-1.5 mm thick throughout its length, and consisted of multiple layers of myofibroblasts and matrix overlaid with a single layer of mesothelium. The myofibroblasts stained for alpha-smooth muscle actin, vimentin, and desmin. The bursting strength of tissue tubes with no biodegradable mesh scaffolds was in excess of 2500 mm Hg, and the suture holding strength was 11.5 N, both similar to that in dog carotid and femoral arteries. Eleven tissue tubes were transplanted as interposition grafts into the femoral artery of the same dog in which they were grown, and were harvested after 3 to 6.5 months. Eight remained patent during this time. At harvest, their lumens were lined with endothelium-like cells, and wall cells stained for alpha-actin, smooth muscle myosin, desmin and smoothelin; there was also a thick "adventitia" containing vasa vasorum.
CONCLUSION: Peritoneal and pleural cavities of large animals can function as bioreactors to grow myofibroblast tubes for use as autologous vascular grafts.
- Blood Vessel Prosthesis
- Models, Animal
- Peritoneal Cavity
- Pleural Cavity
- Tissue Engineering
- Transplantation, Autologous