Small-Diameter Silk Vascular Grafts (3 mm Diameter) with a Double-Raschel Knitted Silk Tube Coated with Silk Fibroin Sponge



Small-diameter (less than 6 mm in diameter) vascular grafts are highly desirable due to the large demand for surgical revascularization; however, there are no available artificial grafts. Vascular grafts of 1.5 mm diameter prepared by our group with silk fibroin fiber have been proved to be excellent grafts with remarkably high patency and remodeling, based on rat implantation experiment (Enomoto et al., 2010). In this study, a silk fibroin vascular graft with 3 mm diameter which can be used for the coronary arteries or lower extremity arteries is prepared with a double-raschel knitted Bombyx mori silk fiber tube coated with B. mori silk fibroin sponge. Here the silk sponge is prepared from an aqueous solution of the silk fibroin and poly(ethylene) glycol diglycidyl ether as porogen. Sufficient strength, proper elasticity, and protection from loose ends in the implantation process are obtained for the silk fibroin graft; low water permeability and relatively large compliance are also attained. These excellent physical properties make silk fibroin grafts suitable to be implanted in a canine model.