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Endothelialization of Cardiovascular Devices

Acta Biomater. 2019 Nov;99:53-71

Endothelialization of cardiovascular implants, including heart valves, vascular stents and vascular grafts is crucial to solve many problems in our health care system.

Abstract

Blood-contacting surfaces of cardiovascular devices are not biocompatible for creating an endothelial layer on them. Numerous research studies have mainly sought to modify these surfaces through physical, chemical and biological means to ease early endothelial cell (EC) adhesion, migration and proliferation, and eventually to build an endothelial layer on the surfaces. The first priority for surface modification is inhibition of protein adsorption that leads to inhibition of platelet adhesion to the device surfaces, which may favor EC adhesion. Surface modification through surface texturing, if applicable, can bring some hopeful outcomes in this regard. Surface modifications through chemical and/or biological means may play a significant role in easy endothelialization of cardiovascular devices and inhibit smooth muscle cell proliferation. Cellular engineering of cells relevant to endothelialization can boost the positive outcomes obtained through surface engineering. This review briefly summarizes recent developments and research in early endothelialization of cardiovascular devices.

Statement of Significance

Endothelialization of cardiovascular implants, including heart valves, vascular stents and vascular grafts is crucial to solve many problems in our health care system. Numerous research efforts have been made to improve endothelialization on the surfaces of cardiovascular implants, mainly through surface modifications in three ways – physically, chemically and biologically. This review is intended to highlight comprehensive research studies to date on surface modifications aiming for early endothelialization on the blood-contacting surfaces of cardiovascular implants. It also discusses future perspectives to help guide endothelialization strategies and inspire further innovations.

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