Vascular scaffolds with enhanced antioxidant activity inhibit graft calcification

Bin Jiang, Rachel Suen, Jiao Jing Wang, Zheng J. Zhang, Jason A. Wertheim, Guillermo A. Ameer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


There is a need for off-the-shelf, small-diameter vascular grafts that are safe and exhibit high long-term patency. Decellularized tissues can potentially be used as vascular grafts; however, thrombogenic and unpredictable remodeling properties such as intimal hyperplasia and calcification are concerns that hinder their clinical use. The objective of this study was to investigate the long-term function and remodeling of extracellular matrix (ECM)-based vascular grafts composited with antioxidant poly(1, 8-octamethylene-citrate-co-cysteine) (POCC) with or without immobilized heparin. Rat aortas were decellularized to create the following vascular grafts: 1) ECM hybridized with POCC (Poly-ECM), 2) Poly-ECM subsequently functionalized with heparin (Poly-ECM-Hep), and 3) non-modified vascular ECM. Grafts were evaluated as interposition grafts in the abdominal aorta of adult rats at three months. All grafts displayed antioxidant activity, were patent, and exhibited minimal intramural cell infiltration with varying degrees of calcification. Areas of calcification co-localized with osteochondrogenic differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells, lipid peroxidation, oxidized DNA damage, and cell apoptosis, suggesting an important role for oxidative stress in the calcification of grafts. The extent of calcification within grafts was inversely proportional to their antioxidant activity: Poly-ECM-Hep > ECM > Poly-ECM. The incorporation of antioxidants into vascular grafts may be a viable strategy to inhibit degenerative changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-175
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Calcification
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Oxidative stress
  • Vascular grafts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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