First steps towards tissue engineering of small-diameter blood vessels: preparation of flat scaffolds of collagen and elastin by means of freeze drying

L. Buttafoco, P. Engbers-Buijtenhuijs, Andreas A. Poot, Pieter J. Dijkstra, W.F. Daamen, T.H. van Kuppevelt, I. Vermes, Jan Feijen

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Porous scaffolds composed of collagen or collagen and elastin were prepared by freeze drying at temperatures between -18 and -196°C. All scaffolds had a porosity of 90-98% and a homogeneous distribution of pores. Freeze drying at -18°C afforded collagen and collagen/elastin matrices with average pore sizes of 340 and 130 m, respectively. After 20 successive cycles up to 10% of strain, collagen/elastin dense films had a total degree of strain recovery of 70% ± 5%, which was higher than that of collagen films (42% ± 6%). Crosslinking of collagen/elastin matrices either in water or ethanol/water (40% v/v) was carried out using a carbodiimide (N-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-N-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride, EDC) in combination with a succinimide (N-hydroxysuccinimide, NHS) in the presence or absence of a diamine (J230) or by reaction with butanediol diglycidylether (BDGE), followed by EDC/NHS. Crosslinking with EDC/NHS or EDC/NHS/J230 resulted in matrices with increased stiffness as compared to noncrosslinked matrices, whereas sequential crosslinking with the diglycidylether and EDC/NHS yielded very brittle scaffolds. Ethanol/water was the preferred solvent in the crosslinking process because of its ability to preserve the open porous structure during crosslinking. Smooth muscle cells were seeded on the (crosslinked) scaffolds and could be expanded during 14 days of culturing.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)357-368
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research. Part B: Applied Biomaterials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Elastin
  • Vascular grafts
  • METIS-236867
  • Arterial tissue engineering
  • Collagen
  • Smooth muscle cells
  • Cross-linking
  • IR-67197

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