A multi-disciplinary team at SUNY Buffalo designed tissue engineered blood vessels (TEVs) using a matrix of vascular smooth muscle embedded in fibrin gels. After only two weeks in culture, the TEVs showed the strength and resiliency necessary for implantation. Even more exciting, 15 weeks after implantation, the fibrin-based TEVs "exhibited remarkable remodeling with considerable production of collagen and elastin, and significantly increased mechanical strength (and) physiological levels of blood flow and vasoreactivity," according to a paper published online in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology.
Currently, blood vessels are usually "harvested" from the patient's own leg, often causing pain and discomfort, as well as extra surgical steps. So the need for a source of strong, yet elastic -- and physiologically responsive replacement blood vessels has been the subject of laboratory searches and experimentation for decades.
The study, "Fibrin-based functional and implantable small diameter blood vessels," was written by Daniel D. Swartz and James A. Russell from the SUNY Buffalo Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and Stelios T. Andreadis of SUNY Buffalo's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Buffalo, New York.
Fibrin-based TEVs develop strength and reactivity after two weeks in culture
The researchers concluded that "fibrin-based TEVs hold significant promise for treatment of vascular disease and as a model system to address interesting questions with regards to blood vessel development and pathophysiology."
Replacement of large (6-millimeter and larger) blood vessels has been successful using several synthetic materials, but smaller-diameter graf