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Acellular Tissue-Engineered Vascular Grafts from Polymers: Methods, Achievements, Characterization, and Challenges

Extensive and permanent damage to the vasculature leading to different pathogenesis calls for developing innovative therapeutics, including drugs, medical devices, and cell therapies. Innovative strategies to engineer bioartificial/biomimetic vessels have been extensively exploited as an effective replacement for vessels that have seriously malfunctioned. However, further studies in polymer chemistry, additive manufacturing, and rapid prototyping are required to generate highly engineered vascular segments that can be effectively integrated into the existing vasculature of patients. One recently developed approach involves designing and fabricating acellular vessel equivalents from novel polymeric materials. This review aims to assess the design criteria, engineering factors, and innovative approaches for the fabrication and characterization of biomimetic macro- and micro-scale vessels. At the same time, the engineering correlation between the physical properties of the polymer and biological functionalities of multiscale acellular vascular segments are thoroughly elucidated. Moreover, several emerging characterization techniques for probing the mechanical properties of tissue-engineered vascular grafts are revealed. Finally, significant challenges to the clinical transformation of the highly promising engineered vessels derived from polymers are identified, and unique perspectives on future research directions are presented.

Publication date: 09/11/2022

Author: Xinyu Wang

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym14224825

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.