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Functional Modification of Electrospun Poly(ε-caprolactone) Vascular Grafts with the Fusion Protein VEGF–HGFI Enhanced Vascular Regeneration

Wang, Kai, Zhang, Qiuying, Zhao, Liqiang, Pan, Yiwa, Wang, Ting, Zhi, Dengke, Ma, Shaoyang, Zhang, Peixin, Zhao, Tiechan, Zhang, Siming, Li, Wen, Zhu, Meifeng, Zhu, Yan, Zhang, Jun, Qiao, Mingqiang, Kong, Deling
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2017 v.9 no.13 pp. 11415-11427
absorption, antibodies, aorta, blood, endothelium, fibrinogen, fluorescent antibody technique, hemolysis, human umbilical vein endothelial cells, hydrophobic bonding, hydrophobins, hyperplasia, in vitro culture, low density lipoprotein, mechanical properties, nitric oxide, platelet activation, rats, scanning electron microscopy, smooth muscle, staining, vascular endothelial growth factors
Synthetic artificial vascular grafts have exhibited low patency rate and severe neointimal hyperplasia in replacing small-caliber arteries (<6 mm) because of their failure to generate a functional endothelium. In this study, small-caliber (2.0 mm) electrospun poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) vascular grafts were modified with a fusion protein VEGF–HGFI which consists of the class I hydrophobin (HGFI) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), via hydrophobic interactions. Immunofluorescence staining with the anti-VEGF antibody showed that VEGF–HGFI formed a protein layer on the surface of fibers in the grafts. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and mechanical measurements showed that VEGF–HGFI modification had no effect on the structure and mechanical properties of PCL grafts. Blood compatibility tests demonstrated a lower level of fibrinogen (FGN) absorption, platelet activation, and aggregation on the VEGF–HGFI-modified PCL mats than that on the bare PCL mats. The hemolysis rate was comparable in both the modified and bare PCL mats. In vitro culture of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) demonstrated that VEGF–HGFI modification could remarkably enhance nitric oxide (NO) production, prostacyclin₂ (PGI₂) release, and the uptake of acetylated low-density lipoprotein (Ac-LDL) by HUVECs. The healing characteristics of the modified grafts were examined in the replacement of rat abdominal aorta for up to 1 month. Immunofluorescence staining revealed that endothelialization, vascularization, and smooth muscle cell (SMC) regeneration were markedly improved in the VEGF–HGFI-modified PCL grafts. These results suggest that modification with fusion protein VEGF–HGFI is an effective method to improve the regeneration capacity of synthetic vascular grafts.