• Development and characterisation of a large diameter decellularised vascular allograft

      Aldridge, A.; Desai, A.; Owston, H.; Jennings, L.M.; Fisher, J.; Rooney, P.; Kearney, J.N.; Ingham, E.; Wilshaw, Stacy-Paul (2018-09)
      The aims of this study were to develop a biological large diameter vascular graft by decellularisation of native human aorta to remove the immunogenic cells whilst retaining the essential biomechanical, and biochemical properties for the ultimate benefit of patients with infected synthetic grafts. Donor aortas (n = 6) were subjected to an adaptation of a propriety decellularisation process to remove the cells and acellularity assessed by histological analysis and extraction and quantification of total DNA. The biocompatibility of the acellular aortas was determined using standard contact cytotoxicity tests. Collagen and denatured collagen content of aortas was determined and immunohistochemistry was used to determine the presence of specific extracellular matrix proteins. Donor aortas (n = 6) were divided into two, with one half subject to decellularisation and the other half retained as native tissue. The native and decellularised aorta sections were then subject to uniaxial tensile testing to failure [axial and circumferential directions] and suture retention testing. The data was compared using a paired t-test. Histological evaluation showed an absence of cells in the treated aortas and retention of histoarchitecture including elastin content. The decellularised aortas had less than 15 ng mg−1 total DNA per dry weight (mean 94% reduction) and were biocompatible as determined by in vitro contact cytotoxicity tests. There were no gross changes in the histoarchitecture [elastin and collagen matrix] of the acellular aortas compared to native controls. The decellularisation process also reduced calcium deposits within the tissue. The uniaxial tensile and suture retention testing revealed no significant differences in the material properties (p > 0.05) of decellularised aorta. The decellularisation procedure resulted in minimal changes to the biological and biomechanical properties of the donor aortas. Acellular donor aorta has excellent potential for use as a large diameter vascular graft.
    • Development and Characterization of Acellular Porcine Pulmonary Valve Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

      Luo, J.; Korossis, S.A.; Wilshaw, Stacy-Paul; Jennings, L.M.; Fisher, J.; Ingham, E. (2014-06)
      Currently available replacement heart valves all have limitations. This study aimed to produce and characterize an acellular, biocompatible porcine pulmonary root conduit for reconstruction of the right ventricular outflow tract e.g., during Ross procedure. A process for the decellularization of porcine pulmonary roots was developed incorporating trypsin treatment of the adventitial surface of the scraped pulmonary artery and sequential treatment with hypotonic Tris buffer (HTB; 10 mM Tris pH 8.0, 0.1% (w/v) EDTA, and 10 KIU aprotinin), 0.1% (w/v) sodium dodecyl sulfate in HTB, two cycles of DNase and RNase, and sterilization with 0.1% (v/v) peracetic acid. Histology confirmed an absence of cells and retention of the gross histoarchitecture. Im-munohistochemistry further confirmed cell removal and partial retention of the extracellular matrix, but a loss of collagen type IV. DNA levels were reduced by more than 96% throughout all regions of the acellular tissue and no functional genes were detected using polymerase chain reaction. Total collagen levels were retained but there was a significant loss of glycosaminoglycans following decellularization. The biomechanical, hydrody-namic, and leaflet kinematics properties were minimally affected by the process. Both immunohistochemical labeling and antibody absorption assay confirmed a lack of a-gal epitopes in the acellular porcine pulmonary roots and in vitro biocompatibility studies indicated that acellular leaflets and pulmonary arteries were not cytotoxic. Overall the acellular porcine pulmonary roots have excellent potential for development of a tissue substitute for right ventricular outflow tract reconstruction e.g., during the Ross procedure.