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Elastin biosynthesis: The missing link in tissue-engineered blood vessels

Alpesh Patel, Benjamin Fine, Martin Sandig, Kibret Mequanint
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cardiores.2006.02.021 40-49 First published online: 1 July 2006

Abstract

Nearly 20years have passed since Weinberg and Bell attempted to make the first tissue-engineered blood vessels. Following this early attempt, vascular tissue engineering has emerged as one of the most promising approaches to fabricate orderly and mechanically competent vascular substitutes. In elastic and muscular arteries, elastin is a critical structural and regulatory matrix protein and plays an important and dominant role by conferring elasticity to the vessel wall. Elastin also regulates vascular smooth muscle cells activity and phenotype. Despite the great promise that tissue-engineered blood vessels have to offer, little research in the last two decades has addressed the importance of elastin incorporation into these vessels. Although cardiovascular tissue engineering has been reviewed in the past, very little attention has been given to elastin. Thus, this review focuses on the recent advances made towards elastogenesis and the challenges we face in the quest for appropriate functional vascular substitutes.

Keywords
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Smooth muscle
  • Tissue engineering
  • Arteries
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