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Biocompatibility and immunogenicity of decellularised allogeneic aorta in the orthotopic rat model

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posted on 2019-03-14, 13:44 authored by Michalis Katsimpoulas, Lucrezia Morticelli, Ioanna Gontika, Artemis Kouvaka, Panagiotis Mallis, Daniele Dipresa, Ulrike Boer, Bisharah Soudah, Axel Haverich, Efstathios Michalopoulos, Sotiris KorossisSotiris Korossis
Background and aim of the study: Peripheral arterial disease causes blood vessel dysfunction that requires surgical intervention. Current surgical interventions employ synthetic or allogeneic vascular grafts, which offer biocompatible materials solutions that are not able to regenerate or grow with the patient. Decellularised scaffolds have gained significant momentum in the past few years, since they have the potential to regenerate in the patient. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of modified decellularisation protocol on the biocompatibility and immunogenicity of allogeneic rat abdominal aorta in an orthotopic rat model. Methods: Native syngeneic Wistar (W) and allogeneic Dark Agouti (DA) aortas, together with decellularised allogeneic DA aortas, were assessed histologically, immunohistochemically and biomechanically. The immunogenicity of the untreated and decellularized syngeneic and allogeneic grafts was assessed in W rats, implanted orthotopically. Following implantation for 6 weeks, the grafts were explanted and assessed for the presence of T cells and macrophages by immunohistochemistry, and for their biomechanical integrity and histoarchitecture. Results: No obvious histoarchitectural differences were observed between the native W and DA aortas, with both presenting similar three-layered structures. Histological analysis of decellularized DA aortas did not reveal any remaining cells. Explanted native DA allografts showed media necrosis, partial elastic fibre degradation and adventitia thickening, as well as infiltration by lymphocytes (CD3+, CD4+) and macrophages (CD68+) in the adventitia. The explanted decellularized DA allografts indicated reduced immune injury compared to the explanted native DA allografts. The explanted native W syngeneic grafts showed a mild immune response, with an intact media and no lymphocyte infiltration. The explanted native DA allografts showed significantly lower collagen phase slope than the decellularized DA allografts prior implantation, and significantly higher thickness than the explanted decellularized DA allografts. Conclusions: The results indicated that the modified decellularization protocol did not affect significantly the mechanical and histological properties of the native DA rat aorta. Overall, the immune response was improved by decellularization. Native DA allografts induced an adverse immune response in W rats, whereas syngeneic W grafts showed good tissue integration.


This research was supported by the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the EU 7 Framework Programme FP7/2007–2013/ under the REA grant agreement number 317512, and the German Research Foundation through the Cluster of Excellence REBIRTH (From Regenerative Biology to Reconstructive Therapy; EXC 62).



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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Tissue Engineering Part A


KATSIMPOULAS, M. ... et al, 2018. Biocompatibility and immunogenicity of decellularised allogeneic aorta in the orthotopic rat model. Tissue Engineering Part A, 25 (5-6), pp.399-415.


© Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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Final publication is available from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers https://doi.org/10.1089/ten.tea.2018.0037.

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