Aligned nanofibrous cell‐derived extracellular matrix for anisotropic vascular graft construction

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Department of Biomedical Engineering


There is a large demand for tissue engineered vascular grafts for the application of vascular reconstruction surgery or in vitro drug screening tissue model. The extracellular matrix (ECM) composition along with the structural and mechanical anisotropy of native blood vessels is critical to their functional performance. The objective of this study is to develop a biomimetic vascular graft recapitulating the anisotropic features of native blood vessels by employing nanofibrous aligned fibroblast‐derived ECM and human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). The nanotopographic cues of aligned ECM direct the initial cell orientation. The subsequent maturation under circumferential stress generated by a rotating wall vessel (RWV) bioreactor further promotes anisotropic structural and mechanical properties in the graft. The circumferential tensile strength is significantly higher than longitudinal strength in bioreactor samples. Expression of smooth muscle cell specific genes, α‐smooth muscle actin and calponin, in hMSCs is greatly enhanced in bioreactor samples without any biochemical stimulation. In addition, employment of premade ECM and RWV bioreactor significantly reduces the graft fabrication time to three weeks. Mimicking the ECM composition, cell phenotype, structural and mechanical anisotropy, the vascular graft presented in this study is promising for vascular reconstruction surgery or in vitro tissue model applications.

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Advanced Healthcare Materials