Journal article Open Access

Riboflavin-mediated photooxidation to improve the characteristics of decellularized human arterial small diameter vascular grafts

Schneider, Karl H.; Rohringer, Sabrina; Kapeller, Barbara; Grasl, Christian; Kiss, Herbert; Heber, Stefan; Walter, Ingrid; Teuschl, Andreas H.; Podesser, Bruno K.; Bergmeister, Helga

Vascular grafts with a diameter of less than 6 mm are made from a variety of materials and techniques to provide alternatives to autologous vascular grafts. Decellularized materials have been proposed as a possible approach to create extracellular matrix (ECM) vascular prostheses as they are naturally derived and inherently support various cell functions. However, these desirable graft characteristics may be limited by alterations of the ECM during the decellularization process leading to decreased biomechanical properties and hemocompatibility. In this study, arteries from the human placenta chorion were decellularized using two distinct detergents (Triton X-100 or SDS), which differently affect ECM ultrastructure. To overcome biomechanical strength loss and collagen fiber exposure after decellularization, riboflavinmediated UV (RUV) crosslinking was used to uniformly crosslink the collagenous ECM of the grafts. Graft characteristics and biocompatibility with and without RUV crosslinking were studied in vitro and in vivo. RUV-crosslinked ECM grafts showed significantly improved mechanical strength and smoothening of the luminal graft surfaces. Cell seeding using human endothelial cells revealed no cytotoxic effects of the RUV treatment. Short-term aortic implants in rats showed cell migration and differentiation of host cells. Functional graft remodeling was evident in all grafts. Thus, RUV crosslinking is a preferable tool to improve graft characteristics of decellularized matrix conduits.

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