Seeding Arterial Prostheses with Vascular Endothelium The Nature of the Lining

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Arterial prostheses seeded with autogenous vascular endothelium demonstrate a well-organized, cellular, inner lining. To determine the nature of the lining cells, six animals underwent replacement of the infrarenal aorta with Dacron® prostheses. During the preparation of three such grafts, endothelium was scraped from the saphenous vein with a steel wool pledget, suspended in chilled Sack's solution, and mixed with blood used to preclot the graft. This suspension was omitted from the three control grafts. After six weeks, the grafts were removed, rinsed and examined. Fluorescent Factor VIII related antigen (F VIIIRA) strongly stained the lining cells. Silver nitrate Haütchen and electron microscopy preparations revealed a lining pattern characteristic of vascular endothelium. Endothelial cell-specific Weibel-Palade bodies were identified in the lining cell cytoplasm. Masson's trichrome staining revealed a relatively collagen-poor connective tissue within the seeded fabric. Transmission electron microscopy disclosed vascular smooth muscle cells between the seeded graft fabric and the lining cells. Vasa vasorum, arising from the outer capsule, penetrated the fabric to supply the inner capsules of the seeded grafts. It is concluded that the cells lining seeded canine arterial prostheses are true vascular endothelium supported by vascular smooth muscle cells, that the lining contains minimal connective tissue, and that vasa vasorum develop. Unseeded control grafts lacked these features.

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