Enzyme-functionalized vascular grafts catalyze in-situ release of nitric oxide from exogenous NO prodrug

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Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule in cardiovascular system, and the sustained release of NO by endothelial cells plays a vital role in maintaining patency and homeostasis. In contrast, lack of endogenous NO in artificial blood vessel is believed to be the main cause of thrombus formation. In this study, enzyme prodrug therapy (EPT) technique was employed to construct a functional vascular graft by immobilization of galactosidase on the graft surface. The enzyme-functionalized grafts exhibited excellent catalytic property in decomposition of the exogenously administrated NO prodrug. Localized and on-demand release of NO was demonstrated by in vitro release assay and fluorescent probe tracing in an ex vivo model. The immobilized enzyme retained catalytic property even after subcutaneous implantation of the grafts for one month. The functional vascular grafts were implanted into the rat abdominal aorta with a 1-month monitoring period. Results showed effective inhibition of thrombus formation in vivo and enhancement of vascular tissue regeneration and remodeling on the grafts. Thus, we create an enzyme-functionalized vascular graft that can catalyze prodrug to release NO locally and sustainably, indicating that this approach may be useful to develop new cell-free vascular grafts for treatment of vascular diseases.

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