, Volume 38, Issue 12, pp 3706-3723
Date: 08 Jul 2010

Effects of Shear Forces and Pressure on Blood Vessel Function and Metabolism in a Perfusion Bioreactor

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Bovine saphenous veins (BSV) were incubated in a perfusion bioreactor to study vessel wall metabolism and wall structure under tissue engineering conditions. Group 1 vessels were perfused for 4 or 8 days. The viscosity of the medium was increased to that of blood in group 2. Group 3 vessels were additionally strained with luminal pressure. Groups 1-d through 3-d were similar except that BSV were endothelium-denuded before perfusion. Groups 1-a through 3-a used native vessels at elevated flow rates. Group 3 vessels responded significantly better to noradrenaline on day 4, whereas denuded vessels showed attenuated responses (p < 0.001). Tetrazolium dye reduction did not depend on perfusion conditions or time except for denuded vessels. pO2 gradients across the vessels were independent of time and significantly higher in group 2 (p < 0.001). BSV converted glucose stoichiometrically to lactate except vessels of groups 3, 1-d, and 3-d which released more lactate than glucose could supply (p < 0.001). Group 1 vessels as well as all vessels perfused with elevated flow rates showed a loss of endothelial cells after 4 days, whereas group 2 and 3 vessels retained most of the endothelium. These data suggest that vessel metabolism was not limited by oxygen supply. Shear forces did not affect glucose metabolism but increased oxygen consumption and endothelial cell survival. Luminal pressure caused the utilization of energy sources other than glucose, as long as the endothelium was intact. Therefore, vessel metabolism needs to be monitored during tissue engineering procedures which challenge the constructs with mechanical stimuli.