This work investigates the potential of cell layer-electrospun mesh constructs as coronary artery bypass grafts. These cell-mesh constructs were generated by first culturing a confluent layer of 10T½ smooth muscle progenitor cells on a high strength electrospun mesh with uniaxially aligned fibers. Cell-laden mesh sheets were then wrapped around a cylindrical mandrel such that the mesh fibers were aligned circumferentially. The resulting multi-layered constructs were then cultured for 4 wks in media supplemented with TGF-β1 and ascorbic acid to support 10T½ differentiation toward a smooth muscle cell-like fate as well as to support elastin and collagen production. The underlying hypothesis of this work was that extracellular matrix (ECM) deposited by the cell layers would act as an adhesive agent between the individual mesh layers, providing strength to the construct as well as a source for structural elasticity at low strains. In addition, the structural anisotropy of the mesh would inherently guide desired circumferential cell and ECM alignment. Results demonstrate that the cell-mesh constructs exhibited a J-shaped circumferential stress-strain response similar to that of native coronary artery, while also displaying acceptable tensile strength. Furthermore, associated 10T½ cells and deposited collagen fibers showed a high degree of circumferential alignment.
- cell layers
- composite grafts
- coronary artery vascular grafts
- electrospun mesh
- smooth muscle progenitor cells