USPIO-labeled textile materials for non-invasive MR imaging of tissue-engineered vascular grafts

Marianne E. Mertens, Sabine Koch, Twan Gerardus Gertudis Maria Lammers, Philipp Schuster, Jakob Wehner, Zhuojun Wu, Felix Gremse, Volkmar Schulz, Lisanne Rongen, Frederic Wolf, Julia Frese, Valentine N. Gesche, Marc van Zandvoort, P. Mela, Stefan Jockenhoeve, Fabian Kiessling

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Non-invasive imaging might assist in the clinical translation of tissue-engineered vascular grafts (TEVG). It can e.g. be used to facilitate the implantation of TEVG, to longitudinally monitor their localization and function, and to provide non-invasive and quantitative feedback on their remodeling and resorption. We here incorporated ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) nanoparticles into polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)-based textile fibers, and used them to prepare imageable tissue-engineered vascular grafts (iTEVG). The USPIO-labeled scaffold materials were molded with a mixture of fibrin, fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells, and then endothelialized in a bioreactor under physiological flow conditions. The resulting grafts could be sensitively detected using T1-, T2- and T2*-weighted MRI, both during bioreactor cultivation and upon surgical implantation into sheep, in which they were used as an arteriovenous shunt between the carotid artery and the jugular vein. In vivo, the iTEVG were shown to be biocompatible and functional. Post-mortem ex vivo analyses provided evidence for efficient endothelialization and for endogenous neo-vascularization within the biohybrid vessel wall. These findings show that labeling polymer-based textile materials with MR contrast agents is straightforward and safe, and they indicate that such theranostic tissue engineering approaches might be highly useful for improving the production, performance, personalization and translation of biohybrid vascular grafts.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)155-163
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • METIS-315273
  • IR-99948

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