Pericyte-based human tissue engineered vascular grafts

Wei He, Alejandro Nieponice, Lorenzo Soletti, Yi Hong, Burhan Gharaibeh, Mihaela Crisan, Arvydas Usas, Bruno Peault, Johnny Huard, William R Wagner, David A Vorp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The success of small-diameter tissue engineered vascular grafts (TEVGs) greatly relies on an appropriate cell source and an efficient cellular delivery and carrier system. Pericytes have recently been shown to express mesenchymal stem cell features. Their relative availability and multipotentiality make them a promising candidate for TEVG applications. The objective of this study was to incorporate pericytes into a biodegradable scaffold rapidly, densely and efficiently, and to assess the efficacy of the pericyte-seeded scaffold in vivo. Bi-layered elastomeric poly(ester-urethane)urea scaffolds (length = 10 mm; inner diameter = 1.3 mm) were bulk seeded with 3 x 10(6) pericytes using a customized rotational vacuum seeding device in less than 2 min (seeding efficiency > 90%). The seeded scaffolds were cultured in spinner flasks for 2 days and then implanted into Lewis rats as aortic interposition grafts for 8 weeks. Results showed pericytes populated the porous layer of the scaffolds evenly and maintained their original phenotype after the dynamic culture. After implantation, pericyte-seeded TEVGs showed a significant higher patency rate than the unseeded control: 100% versus 38% (p < 0.05). Patent pericyte-seeded TEVGs revealed extensive tissue remodeling with collagen and elastin present. The remodeled tissue consisted of multiple layers of alpha-smooth muscle actin- and calponin-positive cells, and a von Willebrand factor-positive monolayer in the lumen. These results demonstrate the feasibility of a pericyte-based TEVG and suggest that the pericytes play a role in maintaining patency of the TEVG as an arterial conduit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8235-44
Number of pages10
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Animals
  • Aorta
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pericytes
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Tissue Scaffolds
  • Vascular Patency


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