There is a crucial need for alternatives to native vein or artery for vascular surgery. The clinical efficacy of synthetic, allogeneic or xenogeneic vessels has been limited by thrombosis, rejection, chronic inflammation and poor mechanical properties. Using adult human fibroblasts extracted from skin biopsies harvested from individuals with advanced cardiovascular disease, we constructed tissue-engineered blood vessels (TEBVs) that serve as arterial bypass grafts in long-term animal models. These TEBVs have mechanical properties similar to human blood vessels, without relying upon synthetic or exogenous scaffolding. The TEBVs are antithrombogenic and mechanically stable for 8 months in vivo. Histological analysis showed complete tissue integration and formation of vasa vasorum. The endothelium was confluent and positive for von Willebrand factor. A smooth muscle-specific α-actin-positive cell population developed within the TEBV, suggesting regeneration of a vascular media. Electron microscopy showed an endothelial basement membrane, elastogenesis and a complex collagen network. These results indicate that a completely biological and clinically relevant TEBV can be assembled exclusively from an individual's own cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)