Vascular remodeling in response to implantation of a tissue engineering scaffold such as a flow diverter (FD) leads to the cure of intracranial aneurysms. We hypothesize that the vascular response is dependent on FD design, and CD34+ progenitor cells play an important role in the endothelialization of the implant.Methods
Sixteen rabbit aneurysms were randomly treated with two different single-layer braided FDs made of cobalt–chrome alloys. The FD-48 and FD-72 devices had 48 and 72 wires, respectively. Aneurysm occlusion rate was assessed during the final digital subtraction angiogram at 10, 20, 30, and 60 days (n=2 per device per time point). Implanted vessels were analyzed with scanning electron microscopy for tissue coverage, endothelialization, and immuno-gold labeling for CD34+ cells.Results
Complete aneurysm occlusion rates were similar between the devices; however, complete or near complete occlusion was more frequently observed in aneurysms with neck ≤4.2 mm (p=0.008). Total tissue coverage at 10 days over the surface of the FD-48 and FD-72 devices was 56.4±11.6% and 76.6±3.6%, respectively. Endothelial cell growth over the surface was time-dependent for the FD-72 device (Spearman's r=0.86, p=0.013) but not for the FD-48 device (Spearman's r=−0.59, p=0.094). The endothelialization score was marginally correlated with the distance from the aneurysm neck for the FD-48 device (Spearman's r=1, p=0.083) but not for the FD-72 device (Spearman's r=0.8, p=0.33). CD34+ cells were present along the entirety of both devices at all time points.Conclusions
This study gives preliminary evidence that temporal and spatial endothelialization is dependent on FD design. Circulating CD34+ progenitor cells contribute to endothelialization throughout the healing process.