Aptamer supported in vitro endothelialization of poly(ether imide) films


Implantation of synthetic small-diameter vascular bypass grafts is often associated with an increased risk of failure, due to thrombotic events or late intimal hyperplasia. As one of the causes an insufficient hemocompatibility of the artificial surface is discussed. Endothelialization of synthetic grafts is reported to be a promising strategy for creating a self-renewing and regulative anti-thrombotic graft surface. However, the establishment of a shear resistant cell monolayer is still challenging. In our study, cyto- and immuno-compatible poly(ether imide) (PEI) films were explored as potential biomaterial for cardiovascular applications. Recently, we reported that the initial adherence of primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) was delayed on PEI-films and about 9 days were needed to establish a confluent and almost shear resistant HUVEC monolayer. To accelerate the initial adherence of HUVEC, the PEI-film surface was functionalized with an aptamer-cRGD peptide based endothelialization supporting system. With this functionalization the initial adherence as well as the shear resistance of HUVEC on PEI-films was considerable improved compared to the unmodified polymer surface. The in vitro results confirm the general applicability of aptamers for an efficient functionalization of substrate surfaces.
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