Decellularization, cross-linking and heparin immobilization of porcine carotid arteries for tissue engineering vascular grafts

  • Zhiwen Cai
  • Yongquan Gu
  • Jin Cheng
  • Ji Li
  • Zeqin Xu
  • Yuehao Xing
  • Cong Wang
  • Zhonggao WangEmail author
Full Length Paper


Tissue engineering vascular grafts (TEVGs) have the potential to replace small-diameter grafts in bypass surgery which is good news for patients with cardiovascular disease. Decellularized arteries can be ideal TEVGs because their natural three-dimensional structures support the migration of host cells and vascular remodeling. There are many methods for decellularization without a standard protocol. In this study, a combination of Triton X-100 and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) were used to prepare decellularized arteries. However, decellularization may damage the biochemical and mechanical properties to some degree. We used the cross-linking agents N-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-N′-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) to improve mechanical properties and immobilize heparin to inhibit thrombogenesis. Histological analysis, scanning electron microscopy, biomechanical properties test, determination of immobilized heparin, active partial thrombin time assay, and subcutaneous embedding experiment were used to evaluate the efficiency of decellularization and the efficacy of heparinized cross-linked vascular scaffold. Results showed 1% Triton X-100 combined with 0.3% SDS can decellularize successfully. EDC and NHS cross-linking can improve the mechanical properties, reduce the inflammatory reaction and slow the degradation time. Heparin immobilized on the scaffolds can inhibit thrombogenesis effectively. This study indicated the heparinized cross-linked vascular scaffolds may be ideal scaffolds for TEVGs.


Decellularization Cross-linking Heparin immobilization TEVGs 



This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFC1104100) and the Capital Health Research and Development of Special, Beijing, China (Grant No. 2016-1-2012).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All of the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Vascular SurgeryXuan Wu Hospital, Capital Medical UniversityBeijingChina

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