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A bioactive compliant vascular graft modulates macrophage polarization and maintains patency with robust vascular remodeling.


Conventional synthetic vascular grafts are associated with significant failure rates due to their mismatched mechanical properties with the native vessel and poor regenerative potential. Though different tissue engineering approaches have been used to improve the biocompatibility of synthetic vascular grafts, it is still crucial to develop a new generation of synthetic grafts that can match the dynamics of native vessel and direct the host response to achieve robust vascular regeneration. The size of pores within implanted biomaterials has shown significant effects on macrophage polarization, which has been further confirmed as necessary for efficient vascular formation and remodeling. Here, we developed biodegradable, autoclavable synthetic vascular grafts from a new polyurethane elastomer and tailored the grafts' interconnected pore sizes to promote macrophage populations with a pro-regenerative phenotype and improve vascular regeneration and patency rate. The synthetic vascular grafts showed similar mechanical properties to native blood vessels, encouraged macrophage populations with varying M2 to M1 phenotypic expression, and maintained patency and vascular regeneration in a one-month rat carotid interposition model and in a four-month rat aortic interposition model. This innovative bioactive synthetic vascular graft holds promise to treat clinical vascular diseases.

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