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.
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2019|
- Multimodal monitoring
- Non-invasive monitoring
- Tissue-engineered vascular graft