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There are no small-caliber (<6 mm) vascular prostheses so far commercially available around the globe. Bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) is considered a promising material for small-caliber artificial blood vessel applications. Although BNC hydrogel-like (BNC-Gel) materials possess a 3D network structure, facilitating nutrient exchange when used as vascular prostheses, they are difficult to suture during surgery due to their softness. Furthermore, a water content greater than 99% prevents the material from convenient methods of preservation and transport. Air-drying the BNC (BNC-Dry) would solve these problems. The comparative morphology, mechanical properties, hemocompatibility, and cytocompatibility of the BNC-Gel and BNC-Dry conduits of 3 mm in diameter were recorded in the present study, the results indicating that the mechanical properties, hemocompatibility, and cytocompatibility of BNC-Dry conduits were superior to conduits of BNC-Gel. Forty-six days after replacement of the carotid artery in New Zealand white rabbits, the BNC-Dry conduits remained patent. Composite blood vessels composed of cellulose and autologous tissue were harvested for immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence staining. Sections demonstrated that the outer walls of the conduits were wrapped with autologous tissue. Contractile smooth muscle cells (SMCs) were observed on the outer surface of the conduit, similar to that observed in natural blood vessels. BNC-Dry conduits exhibited excellent performance and possessed properties convenient for surgical applications as small-diameter blood vessels. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Luhan Bao, Feng F Hong, Geli Li, Gaoquan Hu, Lin Chen. Implantation of air-dried bacterial nanocellulose conduits in a small-caliber vascular prosthesis rabbit model. Materials science & engineering. C, Materials for biological applications. 2021 Mar;122:111922

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PMID: 33641915

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