Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Glenn R. Gaudette, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Kristen L. Billiar, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Marsha W. Rolle, Advisor




"The large number of patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases has led to a high demand for functional arterial replacements. A variety of approaches to vascular graft tissue engineering have shown promise, including seeding cells onto natural and synthetic scaffolds or by culturing cell sheets which are subsequently rolled into a tube without exogenous scaffolds. The goal of this project is to develop and characterize cell-derived, fully biological small diameter tissue engineered tubes by seeding and culturing cells directly on tubular supports. Rat aortic smooth muscle cells were seeded onto collagen-coated silicone mandrels and cultured for 14 days. Cells proliferated on the mandrels to form tubes (1.19 mm inner diameter, 1.68 +/- 0.1 mm outer diameter and 230 +/- 63 microns thick; n=72). Histological analysis of the developed tissue tubes demonstrated circumferential alignment of smooth muscle cells, abundant glycosaminoglycan production and some amount of collagen production. On inflating at a constant rate, it was observed that the tissue tubes dilated to an average burst pressure of 256 +/- 76 mmHg; (n=11). In order to observe the effects of addition of soluble factors on extracellular matrix synthesis and mechanical properties, tissue tubes were grown in culture medium supplemented with 50 microgram/ml sodium ascorbate. A significant decrease in outer diameter and wall thickness (1.57 +/- 0.02 mm and 189 +/- 10 microns; n=6 respectively) in the treated groups was observed as compared to (1.66 +/- 0.06 mm and 234 +/- 32 microns; n=6; p<0.05) for the untreated control groups. A slight increase in collagen production was observed by visual assessment of histological images of the ascorbate-treated tissue tubes. This suggests that by using a direct cell seeding approach, it is possible to develop completely biologic small diameter cell-derived tissue tubes that can withstand handling, and it may also possible to modulate matrix synthesis by optimizing cell culture conditions. "


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Biomedical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





vascular tissue enigneering, blood vessels