The clinical need for vascular grafts continues to grow. Tissue engineering strategies have been employed to develop vascular grafts for patients lacking sufficient autologous vessels for grafting. Restoring a functional endothelium on the graft lumen has been shown to greatly improve the long-term patency of small-diameter grafts. However, obtaining an autologous source of endothelial cells for in vitro endothelialization is invasive and often not a viable option. Endothelial outgrowth cells (EOCs), derived from circulating progenitor cells in peripheral blood, provide an alternative cell source for engineering an autologous endothelium. This review aims at highlighting the role of EOCs in the regulation of processes that are central to vascular graft performance. To characterize EOC performance in vascular grafts, this review identifies the characteristics of EOCs, defines functional performance criteria for EOCs in vascular grafts, and summarizes the existing work in developing vascular grafts with EOCs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering