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Vascular Tissue Engineering

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Reconstructive surgery using autologous vessels is the conventional approach for substitution of diseased vessels or for generation of bypass to improve blood supply downstream of stenosed vessels. In some circumstances the use of autologous material is not possible due to concomitant diseases or previous use, and artificial grafts must be used. Unfortunately, these grafts cannot substitute small-caliber arterial vessels because of thrombotic complications. The objective of tissue engineering at the vascular level is then to generate biological substitutes of arterial conduits with functional characteristics of native vessels, combining cellular components with biodegradable scaffolds. These research projects started in several laboratories, in the late 1990s, and have expanded in different directions using a number of experimental approaches. The objective of this review is to give an overview of the results so far obtained in this area of research, and to discuss the problems related to these investigations, at the experimental and clinical level. The article provides an overview of different biodegradable scaffolds used, experimental techniques for vessels maturation in vitro under mechanical stimulation, and of differentiated as well as precursors of vascular cells, which opens new opportunities for further development of this form of cell transplantation. Finally, the current available results in clinical research will be discussed.

Keywords: Bioreactors; Scaffolds; Vascular cells; Vascular tissue engineering

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/000000006783982430

Affiliations: Department of Biomedical Engineering, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, 24125 Bergamo, Italy

Publication date: March 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • 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.
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