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Densified collagen tubular grafts for human tissue replacement and disease modelling applications.

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Justin, Alexander W 
Cammarata, Federico 
Guy, Andrew A 
Estevez, Silas R 
Burgess, Sebastian 


There is a significant need across multiple indications for an off-the-shelf bioengineered tubular graft which fulfils the mechanical and biological requirements for implantation and function but does not necessarily require cells for manufacture or deployment. Herein, we present a tissue-like tubular construct using a cell-free, materials-based method of manufacture, utilizing densified collagen hydrogel. Our tubular grafts are seamless, mechanically strong, customizable in terms of lumen diameter and wall thickness, and display a uniform fibril density across the wall thickness and along the tube length. While the method enables acellular grafts to be generated rapidly, inexpensively, and to a wide range of specifications, the cell-compatible densification process also enables a high density of cells to be incorporated uniformly into the walls of the tubes, which we show can be maintained under perfusion culture. Additionally, the method enables tubes consisting of distinct cell domains with cellular configurations at the boundaries which may be useful for modelling aortic disease. Further, we demonstrate additional steps which allow for luminal surface patterning. These results highlight the universality of this approach and its potential for developing the next generation of bioengineered grafts.



Densified collagen, Disease modelling, Tissue engineering, Tubular scaffolds, Vascular grafts, Humans, Tissue Engineering, Collagen, Biomedical Engineering, Hydrogels

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Biomater Adv

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Elsevier BV
British Heart Foundation (RG/17/5/32936)
British Heart Foundation (FS/18/46/33663)
Wellcome Trust (222062/Z/20/Z)
Financial support for this work has come from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, EP/R511675/1), the Isaac Newton Trust, the Rosetrees Trust (M787) and the Wellcome Trust Institutional Translational Partnership Award 222062/Z/20/Z.