When implanting any vascular prosthetic grafts, one important goal to ensure long-term patency is achieving complete endothelialization of the luminal surface, a process that has rarely been observed clinically in humans. Seeding vascular grafts with endothelial cells has been seen as an attractive approach but has not been clinically convincing. A determining factor may be the type of polymer and surface structure. Using organotypic culture assays, the present investigation studied the effect of different polymers, surface structures, and surface treatments on endothelial cell behavior. The materials tested were polyester (PET), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polyesterurethane (PESU), and polyctherurethane (PETU) grafts with different surface structures. The surface treatments on the PET grafts included impregnation with cross-linked albumin, collagen, and gelatin, and treatments with fluoropolymer and electrically conducting polypyrrole polymer. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) and polydimeth-ylsiloxane (PDMS) sheets (smooth surface, plain wall) were used as controls. After incubation for 7 days at 37°C, cell adhesion and migration on the different polymers and structures were as follows: woven and knitted PET (high porosity) > PTFE, PESU, PETU hydrophobic (low porosity) > PETU hydrophilic, LDPE, PDMS (no porosity). Cell density results showed no difference between polymers and porous structures and a higher cell density on smooth nonporous surfaces: Compared with the nonimpregnated PET structures, knitted PET treated with albumin, collagen, or gelatin showed slight decreases of cell adhesion. No differences in cell migration and density were reported between any of the PET grafts, except for one polyester graft with a different chemistry than Dacron, which exhibited greater cell migration and lower cell density. Polyester grafts with a fluoropolymer treatment showed lower cell adhesion and migration and higher cell density than the nontreated PET. Finally, the woven PET grafts treated with electrically conducting polypyrrole exhibited contrasting cell behavior depending on the conductivity involved. ASAIO Journal 1999; 45:272–280.
Copyright © 1999 by the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs