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Tissue-engineered human vascular media produced in vitro by the self-assembly approach present functional properties similar to those of their native blood vessels

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Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
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We have developed a tissue-engineering approach for the production of a completely biological blood vessel from cultured human cells. In the present study, we took advantage of this tissue-engineering method to demonstrate that it can be used to reproduce the subtle differences in the expression of receptors present on the media of native human blood vessels. Indeed, a small percentage (3 of 18) of native human umbilical cord veins (HUCVs) responded to endothelin, the most powerful vasopressor agent known to date, via both endothelin A (ETA) and endothelin B (ETB) receptor activation. In contrast, most HUCVs tested responded toETviaETA receptor activation only. Tissue-engineered vascular media (TEVM) were next reconstructed by using vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) isolated and cultured from HUCVs expressing both ETA and ETB receptors to determine the functional integrity of our TEVM model. The reconstructed TEVM presents an endothelin response similar to that of respective HUCVs from which VSMCs were isolated. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction on TEVM reconstructed in vitro correlated these vasocontractile profiles by showing the presence of messenger RNA for both ETA and ETB receptors. Taken together with recently published results on TEVM expressing only ETA receptor, these results show that our reconstructed TEVM present a similar ET response profile as the blood vessel from which the VSMCs were isolated and cultured. These findings indicate that subtle differences, such as receptor expression, are preserved in the reconstructed tissue. Therefore, our TEVM offers a valuable human in vitro model with which to study the functionality of human blood vessels, such as their vasoactive response, or to perform pharmacologic studies.

Tissue Engineering, Vol. 12 (8), 2275-2281 (2006)
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