Tissue engineering of acellular vascular grafts capable of somatic growth in young lambs

Zeeshan H Syedain, Jay Reimer, Matthew Lahti, James Berry, Sandra Johnson, Robert T Tranquillo

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71 Scopus citations


Treatment of congenital heart defects in children requiring right ventricular outflow tract reconstruction typically involves multiple open-heart surgeries because all existing graft materials have no growth potential. Here we present an € off-the-shelf' vascular graft grown from donor fibroblasts in a fibrin gel to address this critical unmet need. In a proof-of-concept study, the decellularized grafts are implanted as a pulmonary artery replacement in three young lambs and evaluated to adulthood. Longitudinal ultrasounds document dimensional growth of the grafts. The lambs show normal growth, increasing body weight by 366% and graft diameter and volume by 56% and 216%, respectively. Explanted grafts display physiological strength and stiffness, complete lumen endothelialization and extensive population by mature smooth muscle cells. The grafts also show substantial elastin deposition and a 465% increase in collagen content, without signs of calcification, aneurysm or stenosis. Collectively, our data support somatic growth of this completely biological graft.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12951
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Sep 27 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was provided by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the NIH Award Number UL1TR000114 and NIH HL107572 (to R.T.T).

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