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Development of a Stem Cell-Based Tissue Engineered Vascular Graft

Soletti, Lorenzo (2009) Development of a Stem Cell-Based Tissue Engineered Vascular Graft. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Limited autologous vascular graft availability and poor patency rates of synthetic grafts for small-diameter revascularization (e.g., coronary artery bypass, peripheral bypass, arteriovenous graft for hemodyalisis access, etc.) remain a concern in the surgical community. A tissue engineering vascular graft (TEVG), including suitable cell source, scaffold, seeding, and culture methods can potentially solve these limitations. Muscle-derived stem cells (MDSCs) are multipotent cells, with long-term proliferation and self-renewal capabilities, which represent a valid candidate for vascular tissue engineering applications due to their plasticity/heterogeneity. The poly(ester urethane) urea (PEUU) is also an attractive potential candidate for use as a TEVG due to its elasticity and tunable mechanical and degradation properties. We hypothesized that a novel scaffold optimally seeded with stem cells, acutely cultured and stimulated in vitro, and ultimately implanted in vivo will remodel into a functional vascular tissue. To test this hypothesis, we developed an innovative, multidisciplinary framework to fabricate and culture a TEVG in a timeframe compatible with clinical practice. In this approach, MDSCs were incorporated into a newly-designed and characterized PEUU-based scaffold via a novel seeding device, which was tested quantitatively for cell seeding uniformity and viability. The seeded TEVGs were acutely cultured in dynamic conditions and assessed for cell phenotype, proliferation, and spreading. The conduits were then implanted systemically in a small and a large animal model and assessed, at different time points, for patency rate, remodeling, and cellular engraftment and phenotype. The seeding technology demonstrated a rapid, efficient, reproducible, and quantitatively uniform seeding without affecting cell viability. The PEUU scaffold that was developed is suitable for arterial applications, exhibiting appropriate strength, compliance, and suture retention properties. The dynamic culture resulted in cell proliferation and spreading within the 3D scaffold environment. Rat preclinical studies suggested a role of the seeded MDSCs in the maintenance of patency and in the remodeling of the TEVG toward a native-like structure. Pig studies were inconclusive due to a poor pre-implantation cell density. Future work should address this and other issues encountered during the large animal study, and should test longer time points in both models. Finally, this approach might benefit from a more readily available cell source such as the bone marrow.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairVorp, David
Committee MemberKeller,
Committee MemberHuard, Johnnyjhuard@pitt.eduJHUARD
Committee MemberWagner, William Rwagnerwr@upmc.eduWAGNER
Date: 28 January 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 8 September 2008
Approval Date: 28 January 2009
Submission Date: 26 November 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Bioengineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adult Stem Cells; Animal Studies; Bioreactor; Seeding Device; Tissue Engineering; Vascular Graft
Other ID:, etd-11262008-133840
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:06
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:37


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