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Keywords:

  • extracellular matrix;
  • cardiovascular tissue engineering;
  • storage;
  • scaffold;
  • hydration

Abstract

Tissue engineered acellular vascular grafts are an emerging concept in the development of vascular prostheses for the minimally invasive treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds, such as small intestinal submucosa (SIS) and urinary bladder matrix (UBM), offer many advantages over currently available synthetic devices. However, storage of such biomaterials can unduly influence the scaffold properties. This study evaluated the effects of up to 16 weeks hydrated storage on the mechanical and cellular performance of stented and unstented tubular scaffolds. This study aimed to demonstrate the viability, mechanical integrity, and bioactive potential of xenogeneic ECMs as potential off-the-shelf vascular prosthetic devices. Rehydrated ECM samples versus the lyophilized controls showed an increase in UTS and stiffness. The mechanical strength of all samples evaluated was above the average reported aortic tissue failure strength and more compliant than current synthetic materials employed. Post-storage cellular bioactivity investigations indicated that both ECM scaffolds tested were unaffected by increased hydrated storage duration when compared with the controls. Overall, the results indicate that the biomechanical and biologic properties of ECMs are not negatively affected by long-term hydrated storage. Therefore, with further investigations, naturally derived ECM materials may offer potential as an off-the-shelf therapeutic treatment of cardiovascular diseases. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 102B: 89–97, 2014.