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Collagen-Based Tissue Engineering Strategies for Vascular Medicine.

  • Copes, Francesco1, 2
  • Pien, Nele1, 3
  • Van Vlierberghe, Sandra3
  • Boccafoschi, Francesca1, 2
  • Mantovani, Diego1
  • 1 Laboratory for Biomaterials and Bioengineering, Canada Research Chair Tier I for the Innovation in Surgery, Department of Min-Met-Materials Engineering & Regenerative Medicine, CHU de Quebec Research Center, Laval University, Quebec City, QC, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 2 Laboratory of Human Anatomy, Department of Health Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 3 Polymer Chemistry & Biomaterials Group, Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry, Centre of Macromolecular Chemistry, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. , (Belgium)
Published Article
Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2019.00166
PMID: 31355194


Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) account for the 31% of total death per year, making them the first cause of death in the world. Atherosclerosis is at the root of the most life-threatening CVDs. Vascular bypass/replacement surgery is the primary therapy for patients with atherosclerosis. The use of polymeric grafts for this application is still burdened by high-rate failure, mostly caused by thrombosis and neointima hyperplasia at the implantation site. As a solution for these problems, the fast re-establishment of a functional endothelial cell (EC) layer has been proposed, representing a strategy of crucial importance to reduce these adverse outcomes. Implant modifications using molecules and growth factors with the aim of speeding up the re-endothelialization process has been proposed over the last years. Collagen, by virtue of several favorable properties, has been widely studied for its application in vascular graft enrichment, mainly as a coating for vascular graft luminal surface and as a drug delivery system for the release of pro-endothelialization factors. Collagen coatings provide receptor-ligand binding sites for ECs on the graft surface and, at the same time, act as biological sealants, effectively reducing graft porosity. The development of collagen-based drug delivery systems, in which small-molecule and protein-based drugs are immobilized within a collagen scaffold in order to control their release for biomedical applications, has been widely explored. These systems help in protecting the biological activity of the loaded molecules while slowing their diffusion from collagen scaffolds, providing optimal effects on the targeted vascular cells. Moreover, collagen-based vascular tissue engineering substitutes, despite not showing yet optimal mechanical properties for their use in the therapy, have shown a high potential as physiologically relevant models for the study of cardiovascular therapeutic drugs and diseases. In this review, the current state of the art about the use of collagen-based strategies, mainly as a coating material for the functionalization of vascular graft luminal surface, as a drug delivery system for the release of pro-endothelialization factors, and as physiologically relevant in vitro vascular models, and the future trend in this field of research will be presented and discussed.

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