Acellular vascular matrix: A natural endothelial cell substrate
A preliminary assessment was made of the acellular vascular matrix graft as a substrate for endothelial cell seeding, with respect to surface pretreatment (none versus fibronectin and/or serum) and presence of exogenous growth factor. Arteries were harvested from greyhounds and exposed to a sequential detergent extraction process to produce the acellular vascular matrix. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells were grown in tissue culture, harvested in first passage, then seeded at 10s cells/cm2 on sections of acellular vascular matrix and on gel-coated polystyrene positive controls. After 18 hour incubation, endothelial cell-seeded acellular matrices were fixed and processed for histologic and planimetric analysis; control wells were fixed and endothelial cells were counted by planimetry. Pretreatment of the acellular vascular matrix was found to have no effect on the percentage of endothelial cell coverage of the matrix. There was significantly better endothelial cell coverage of the acellular matrix than on matched gel-treated polystyrene control wells. Withdrawal of growth factor resulted in a significant reduction in endothelial cell coverage for all acellular vascular matrix groups. Growth factor withdrawal also significantly reduced attachment of endothelial cells on gel-treated polystyrene. Cell surface area was significantly smaller when growth factor was withdrawn from all groups except from the acellular vascular matrix without pretreatment. We conclude that: (1) the acellular vascular matrix is conducive to endothelial cell adherence and spreading even without pretreatment; and (2) sudden withdrawal of exogenous growth factor may impair early coverage of substrates by endothelial cells due to an effect on the;r adherence or spreading.
Key wordsAcellular vascular matrix endothelial seeding
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