Although rapid formation of a smooth inner surface is important in constructing an artificial vascular graft, a conventional model that uses a biodegradable polymer such as poly-glycolic acid needs long-term culture to form it. In another model, which uses collagen gel, it is reported that prompt formation of the smooth inner surface was achieved. But the mechanical properties were not suitable, resulting in rupture under high pressure at the arterial level. Therefore, we propose a new artificial vascular graft model made of biodegradable polymer, gel, and cells. At first we manufactured an artificial vascular graft (i.d. 5 mm, o.d.7 mm) consisting of poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) with open pore structures by using gas-forming methods. After mixing human normal aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs) with type I collagen solution, pores of the PLLA scaffold were filled with the mixture. The collagen mixture was made into gel in the pores of the PLLA scaffold, incubating at 37°C. WET-SEM analysis showed that the prompt formation of a smooth inner surface was achieved in the new model. The ratio of incorporation of SMCs into the artificial vascular graft became approximately 100% by using the cell–collagen mixture, whereas only 40% of SMCs were trapped in the conventional model where SMCs were inoculated as a cell–medium suspension. Therefore, it was suggested that the new artificial vascular graft model was superior in smooth inner surface formation and cell inoculation, compared with conventional models using either biodegradable polymer or gel.
*Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan 2:
†Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Publication date: January 1, 2002
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