Engineering and cell attachment properties of human fibronectin–fibrinogen scaffolds for use in tissue engineered blood vessels
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Tissue engineered constructs reported to date have been prepared primarily from poly(glycolic) acid or collagen scaffolds onto which cells are grown and matured. In this paper we report experimental data to demonstrate the use of a natural, human protein, as a tubular scaffold for vascular grafting. Using a manual and a scalable dip-coating technique we prepared fibronectin-based tubes up to 12 cm in length and up to 3 mm in diameter. The tubes were flexible and their mechanical properties, measured in terms of tensile strength and burst pressure as a function of humidity, demonstrated their suitability as scaffolds for use in vascular grafting, e.g. coronary artery by pass grafting. In vitro tests involved the attachment of endothelial cells pumped under laminar flow conditions through the tube lumen and the adherence of smooth muscle cells on the outer surface of the tubes. These tests, carried out in multiwells, showed that the scaffolds had excellent cell attachment and guidance characteristics.
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