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Keywords:

  • Biocompatible materials;
  • Polyelectrolytes;
  • Structure–property relationships;
  • Tissue engineering

Abstract

The use of cryopreserved arteries for vascular tissue engineering provides a promising way for vessel replacement. Unfortunately cryopreservation induces structural changes that strongly modify the mechanical properties and alter the thrombogenicity of the vessel after implantation. We present here a new procedure to treat the inner coating of cryopreserved arteries with poly(sodium-4-styrene sulfonate)/poly(allylamine hydrochloride) polyelectrolyte multilayers. We show that this treatment improves the mechanical properties of the cryopreserved vessel. It also allows the adhesion and spreading of endothelial cells so that the internal structure of the vessel closely resembles that of fresh arteries. Finally, we verify by PECAM-1 and von-Willebrand-factor (vWF) expression that this treatment preserves the phenotype of the endothelial cells. This study should open new routes towards the development of future, new biocompatible tissue substitutes allowing long-term functionality after implantation.