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Age Effects on Vascular Smooth Muscle: An Engineered Tissue Approach

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Tissue engineering of blood vessels offers a potential new therapy for patients with vascular occlusive disease. In addition, tissue engineering technologies offer the opportunity to study the biology of vascular cells in a biomimetic, three-dimensional environment. A model for vascular tissue engineering was used to study the effects of vascular cell age on extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition, cellular mitosis, and protein synthesis under controlled conditions in vitro. Blood vessels were grown using a three-dimensional polyglycolic acid (PGA) mesh that was seeded with either infant or adult porcine vascular smooth muscle cells. Mechanical forces in the form of pulsatile radial distension were applied for the duration of the 7-week growth period. Overall, infant cells exhibited higher levels of cellular proliferation, ECM deposition, and remodeling activity than cells derived from adult animals. In addition, vessels cultured from infant cells had enhanced physical properties compared to vessels cultured from adult cells. The differentiation state of the smooth muscle cells in the infant and adult constructs was unchanged from the native state. However, the levels of immature pro-collagen, although undetectable in the vessels grown from adult cells, were similar in native vessels and in vessels grown with infant cells. These studies have important implications for the study of aging and vascular disease and remodeling, as well as for the field of tissue engineering.
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Keywords: Aging; Extracellular matrix; Tissue engineering; Vascular smooth muscle cell

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA 2: Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA, Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA

Publication date: 01 July 2005

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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