Engineered small diameter vascular grafts by combining cell sheet engineering and electrospinning technology

Hyunhee Ahn, Young Min Ju, Hironobu Takahashi, David F. Williams, James J. Yoo, Sang Jin Lee, Teruo Okano, Anthony Atala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Tissue engineering offers an attractive approach to creating functional small-diameter (<5 mm) blood vessels by combining autologous cells with a natural and/or synthetic scaffold under suitable culture conditions, which results in a tubular construct that can be implanted in vivo. We have previously developed a vascular scaffold fabricated by electrospinning poly(e-caprolactone) (PCL) and type I collagen that mimics the structural and biomechanical properties of native vessels. In this study, we investigated whether a smooth muscle cell (SMC) sheet could be combined with the electrospun vascular scaffolds to produce a more mature smooth muscle layer as compared to the conventional cell seeding method. The pre-fabricated SMC sheet, wrapped around the vascular scaffold, provided high cell seeding efficiency (approx. 100%) and a mature smooth muscle layer that expressed strong cell-to-cell junction, connexin 43 (CX43), and contractile proteins, a smooth muscle actin (a-SMA) and myosin light chain kinase (MLCK). Moreover, bioreactor-associated preconditioning of the SMC sheet-combined vascular scaffold maintained high cell viability (95.9 ± 2.7%) and phenotypes and improved cellular infiltration and mechanical properties (35.7% of tensile strength, 47.5% of elasticity, and 113.2% of elongation at break).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Cell sheet engineering
  • Electrospinning
  • Smooth muscle cells
  • Vascular tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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