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Open Access Effects of Mechanical Stretch on Collagen and Cross-Linking in Engineered Blood Vessels

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It has been shown that mechanical stimulation affects the physical properties of multiple types of engineered tissues. However, the optimum regimen for applying cyclic radial stretch to engineered arteries is not well understood. To this end, the effect of mechanical stretch on the development of engineered blood vessels was analyzed in constructs grown from porcine vascular smooth muscle cells. Cyclic radial distension was applied during vessel culture at three rates: 0 beats per minute (bpm), 90 bpm, and 165 bpm. At the end of the 7-week culture period, harvested vessels were analyzed with respect to physical characteristics. Importantly, mechanical stretch at 165 bpm resulted in a significant increase in rupture strength in engineered constructs over nonstretched controls. Stress‐strain data and maximal elastic moduli from vessels grown at the three stretch rates indicate enhanced physical properties with increasing pulse rate. In order to investigate the role of collagen cross-linking in the improved mechanical characteristics, collagen cross-link density was quantified by HPLC. Vessels grown with mechanical stretch had somewhat more collagen and higher burst pressures than nonpulsed control vessels. Pulsation did not increase collagen cross-link density. Thus, increased wall thickness and somewhat elevated collagen concentrations, but not collagen cross-link density, appeared to be responsible for increased burst strength.

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Keywords: Blood vessels; Collagen cross-links; Mechanical stretch; Rupture strength; Tissue engineering

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Mentor Corporation, Irving, TX, USA

Publication date: 2009-08-01

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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.

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