Home Medical 3D-printed grafts: Breakthrough in the fight against postoperative thrombosis and aneurysms

3D-printed grafts: Breakthrough in the fight against postoperative thrombosis and aneurysms

Cardiovascular diseases, which cause more than 18 million deaths annually, often require vascular replacement due to severe narrowing or occlusion. Autologous blood vessels are only available to a limited extent, which has sparked interest in vascular tissue engineering. However, thrombosis and aneurysmal dilatation remain a major challenge. In the face of these challenges, it is important to find innovative solutions for the development of vascular grafts.

A research team from Donghua University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University published a study in the journal “Burns & Trauma” on April 8, 2024. They developed 3D-printed, electrospun vascular prostheses loaded with tetramethylpyrazine (TMP) to overcome the existing limitations of current prostheses. The study describes the fabrication, characterization and successful implantation of these prostheses into the abdominal aorta of rats.

The study focuses on the development of vascular prostheses to combat common postoperative complications such as thrombosis and aneurysmal dilatation. The researchers combined electrospinning and 3D printing to produce these prostheses, with the inner layer consisting of electrospun poly(L-lactic-co-caprolactone) (PLCL) nanofibers and the outer layer of 3D-printed polycaprolactone (PCL) microfibers. This two-layer design improves both mechanical stability and flexibility. The incorporation of TMP, derived from the traditional Chinese medicine Ligusticum chuanxiong, gave the prostheses significant antithrombotic and anticoagulant properties. In vitro tests showed that the prostheses effectively reduced platelet adhesion and exhibited good cytocompatibility with human umbilical vein endothelial cells.

In vivo experiments in which the abdominal aorta of rats was replaced with these prostheses showed excellent biocompatibility and mechanical strength over six months. The prostheses remained patency without developing acute thrombosis or significant aneurysmal dilatation, indicating their potential clinical potential. This innovative approach could improve outcomes for patients requiring vascular grafts and address both mechanical and biological challenges in vascular tissue engineering.

Dr. Hongbing Gu, a lead researcher, stated, “This study marks a significant advancement in vascular tissue engineering. The combination of electrospinning and 3D printing, along with the incorporation of TMP, has resulted in a vascular graft that not only meets mechanical requirements but also exhibits excellent blood compatibility. These findings pave the way for future clinical applications.”

The successful development of 3D-printed, electrospun vascular prostheses with TMP offers promising solutions for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. These prostheses could reduce post-operative complications such as thrombosis and aneurysmal dilatation and improve patient outcomes. Future research will focus on long-term outcomes in larger animal models and further exploration of the molecular mechanisms of vascular regeneration.

More details can be found in the scientific paper “Development of 3D printed electrospun vascular graft loaded with tetramethylpyrazine for reducing thrombosis and restraining aneurysmal dilatation”.

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