Fast-Degrading Tissue-Engineered Vascular Grafts Lead to Increased Extracellular Matrix Cross-Linking Enzyme Expression

Takuma Fukunishi, Chin Siang Ong, Yusheng J. He, Takahiro Inoue, Huaitao Zhang, Jochen Steppan, Hiroshi Matsushita, Jed Johnson, Lakshmi Santhanam, Narutoshi Hibino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tissue-engineered vascular grafts (TEVGs) require adequate extracellular matrix (ECM) to withstand arterial pressure. Tissue transglutaminase (TG2) and lysyl oxidase (LOX) are enzymes that cross-link ECM proteins and play a pivotal role in the development of vascular stiffness associated with aging. The purpose of this study is to investigate the expression of ECM cross-linking enzymes and mechanisms of scaffold degeneration leading to vascular stiffness in TEVG remodeling. Fast-and slow-degrading electrospun TEVGs were fabricated using polydioxanone (PDO) and poly(L-lactide-co-caprolactone) (PLCL) copolymer, with a PDO/PLCL ratio of 9:1 for fast-degrading and 1:1 for slow-degrading graft. These grafts were implanted in rats (n = 5/group) as abdominal aortic interposition conduits. The grafts were harvested at 1 month to evaluate patency, mechanical properties, vascular neotissue formation, and the expression of ECM cross-linking enzymes. All TEVGs were patent without any aneurysmal formation at 1 month. ECM area, TG2-positive area, and LOX-positive area were significantly greater in fast-degrading TEVGs compared to slow-degrading TEVGs, with significantly less remaining scaffold. The mechanical properties of fast-degrading TEVGs were similar to that of native aorta, as demonstrated by strain-stress curve. In conclusion, at 1 month, fast-degrading TEVGs had rapid and well-organized ECM with greater TG2 and LOX expression and native-like mechanical properties, compared to slow-degrading TEVGs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1368-1375
Number of pages8
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Issue number21-22
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • arterial tissue
  • electrospinning
  • lysyl oxidase
  • tissue remodeling
  • tissue transglutaminase
  • tissue-engineered vascular graft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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