MR and PET-CT monitoring of tissue-engineered vascular grafts in the ovine carotid artery

Frederic Wolf, Vera Paefgen, Oliver Winz, Marianne Mertens, Sabine Koch, Nicolas Gross-Weege, Agnieszka Morgenroth, Anne Rix, Heike Schnoering, Khaled Chalabi, Stefan Jockenhoevel, Twan Lammers, Felix Mottaghy, Fabian Kiessling, Petra Mela*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The modification of biomaterials to comply with clinically employed monitoring techniques is a promising strategy to support clinical translation in regenerative medicine. Here, multimodal imaging of tissue-engineered vascular grafts (TEVG) was enabled by functionalizing the textile scaffold with ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) nanoparticles. The resulting MR-imageable grafts (iTEVG) were monitored non-invasively throughout their whole life-cycle, from initial quality control to longitudinal functional evaluation in an ovine model for up to 8 weeks. Crucial features such as the complete embedding of the textile mesh in the developing tissue and the grafts’ structural stability were assessed in vitro using 1T-, 3T- and 7T-MRI scanners. In vivo, the grafts were imaged by 3T-MRI and PET-CT. Contrary to unlabeled constructs, iTEVG could be delineated from native arteries and precisely localized by MRI. USPIO labeling neither induced calcifications, nor negatively affected their remodeling with respect to tissue-specific extracellular matrix composition and endothelialization. Functionality was confirmed by MR-angiography. 18F-FDG uptake (assessed via PET-CT) indicated only transient post-surgical inflammation. In conclusion, USPIO-labeling enables accurate localization of TEVG and opens up opportunities for multimodal imaging approaches to assess transplant acceptance and function. Thereby, it can support clinical decision-making on the need for further pharmacological or surgical interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119228
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • MRI
  • Multimodal monitoring
  • Non-invasive monitoring
  • PET-CT
  • Tissue-engineered vascular graft
  • n/a OA procedure


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