Research ArticleTissue Engineering

Bioengineered human acellular vessels recellularize and evolve into living blood vessels after human implantation

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Science Translational Medicine  27 Mar 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 485, eaau6934
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau6934

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Vital vessels

Vascular access is critically important for hemodialysis. An arteriovenous fistula generated from native blood vessels has long been thought to be optimal for long-term access; however, some people with kidney disease require vascular grafts. Kirkton et al. studied bioengineered human acellular vessels (HAVs) implanted as hemodialysis access vessels in subjects with end-stage renal disease. Sixteen tissue samples from HAVs were explanted from subjects participating in phase 2 clinical studies over the course of nearly 4 years. The authors characterized cellular repopulation of the implanted vessels over time, noting increases in CD90+ cells, lumen-lining CD31+ endothelium, and the presence of aligned alpha smooth muscle actin–expressing cells. This study provides valuable insight into human vascular remodeling.