Fabrication and short-term in vivo performance of a natural elastic lamina–polymeric hybrid vascular graft

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Department of Biomedical Engineering; Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Although significant advances have been made in the development of artificial vascular grafts, small-diameter grafts still suffer from excessive platelet activation, thrombus formation, smooth muscle cell intimal hyperplasia, and high occurrences of restenosis. Recent discoveries demonstrating the excellent blood-contacting properties of the natural elastic lamina have raised the possibility that an acellular elastic lamina could effectively serve as a patent blood-contacting surface in engineered vascular grafts. However, the elastic lamina alone lacks the requisite mechanical properties to function as a viable vascular graft. Here, we have screened a wide range of biodegradable and biostable medical-grade polymers for their ability to adhere to the outer surface of the elastic lamina and allow cellular repopulation following engraftment in the rat abdominal aorta. We demonstrate a novel method for the fabrication of elastic lamina–polymeric hybrid small-diameter vascular grafts and identify poly(ether urethane) (PEU 1074A) as ideal for this purpose. In vivo results demonstrate graft patency over 21 days, with low thrombus formation, mild inflammation, and the general absence of smooth muscle cell hyperplasia on the graft’s luminal surface. The results provide a new direction for developing small-diameter vascular grafts that are mass-producible, shelf-stable, and universally compatible due to a lack of immune response and inhibit the in-graft restenosis response that is common to nonautologous materials.

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ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces