Journal Article

Re-endothelialization of punctured ePTFE graft: an <i>in vitro</i> study under pulsed perfusion conditions

Julian W. Mall, Andreas W. Philipp, Axel Rademacher, Manrico Paulitschke and Rolf Büttemeyer

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 19, issue 1, pages 61-67
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
Re-endothelialization of punctured ePTFE graft: an in vitro study under pulsed perfusion conditions

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Background. When used as arteriovenous (AV) shunts for haemodialysis, small diameter expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) grafts have a high failure rate in vivo. Attempts to improve graft patency are various, and focus on either improvement of implantation techniques or graft tissue engineering. The tissue engineering approach attempts to reproduce in grafts the properties of pristine vasculature. As shown in previous experiments, it is possible to grow on ePTFE grafts under shear stress in vitro an autologous endothelial cell layer, which will withstand physiological stress under in vivo conditions of blood flow. The aim of this study was to investigate in an in vitro model the regenerative potency of a tissue-engineered prosthetic vascular graft after repeated cannulation with a haemodialysis cannula.

Methods. Pig endothelial cells were harvested from an external jugular vein. Following processing of the endothelial cells, seven ePTFE grafts were coated with an inner cell layer and were kept under pulsed perfusion. Each graft was then cannulated three times with a standard shunt needle. The endothelium was then left to regenerate for a maximum of 48 h. The grafts were stained with haematoxylin/eosin before histological study.

Results. All grafts were endothelialized over the puncture sites within 48 h. Histological analysis revealed a confluent endothelial cell lining at each puncture site. Cell morphology and cell pattern over puncture sites were not different from randomly picked locations over the graft lumen.

Conclusion. Our results underline the potential of endothelial tissue engineering in vascular shunt surgery. Vascular bio-hybrids that have the properties of pristine vascular endothelium may be a key step forward in maintaining angio-access in patients who require haemodialysis.

Keywords: angio-access; ePTFE graft failure; haemodialysis; tissue engineering

Journal Article.  3687 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nephrology

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