The incorporation of a cellular adhesive extracellular matrix and a growth factor into a designed concept for a vital, functioning artificial vascular graft may accelerate tissue regeneration, including endothelialization. Microporous polyure-thane grafts (inner diameter, 1.5 mm; wall thickness, 100 $mUm; length, 20 mm; pore size, 100 $mUm), fabricated using an excimer laser ablation technique, were coated with a mixed solution of photoreactive gelatin, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), and heparin, and were subsequently photocured by ultraviolet irradiation. Control grafts were treated only with photoreactive gelatin. Both bFGF/heparin impregnated grafts (n = 6) and control grafts (n = 9) were implanted in aortas of rats for 4 weeks. All the implanted grafts were patent when harvested. Endothelialization mainly proceeded from anastomolic sites for both groups. The endothelial coverage in the bFGF/heparin impregnated groups was greater than that in the control animals. At the midportion of the grafts, regenerated endothelial and subendothelial layers were seen for the bFGF/heparin groups, but only fibrin layers were seen for the controls. Thus, coimmobilization of bFGF and heparin significantly enhanced neoarterial wall regeneration through perianastomotic as well as transmural tissue ingrowth. The former was more extensive than the latter.
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