Author(s): Li S, Sengupta D, Chien S
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Abstract Blood vessels transport blood to deliver oxygen and nutrients. Vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis may result in obstruction of blood vessels and tissue ischemia. These conditions require blood vessel replacement to restore blood flow at the macrocirculatory level, and angiogenesis is critical for tissue regeneration and remodeling at the microcirculatory level. Vascular tissue engineering has focused on addressing these two major challenges. We provide a systematic review on various approaches for vascular graft tissue engineering. To create blood vessel substitutes, bioengineers and clinicians have explored technologies in cell engineering, materials science, stem cell biology, and medicine. The scaffolds for vascular grafts can be made from native matrix, synthetic polymers, or other biological materials. Besides endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and fibroblasts, expandable cells types such as adult stem cells, pluripotent stem cells, and reprogrammed cells have also been used for vascular tissue engineering. Cell-seeded functional tissue-engineered vascular grafts can be constructed in bioreactors in vitro. Alternatively, an autologous vascular graft can be generated in vivo by harvesting the capsule layer formed around a rod implanted in soft tissues. To overcome the scalability issue and make the grafts available off-the-shelf, nonthrombogenic vascular grafts have been engineered that rely on the host cells to regenerate blood vessels in situ. The rapid progress in the field of vascular tissue engineering has led to exciting preclinical and clinical trials. The advancement of micro-/nanotechnology and stem cell engineering, together with in-depth understanding of vascular regeneration mechanisms, will enable the development of new strategies for innovative therapies. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
This article was published in Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy