Mechanical property characterization of electrospun recombinant human tropoelastin for vascular graft biomaterials

Kathryn A. McKenna, Monica T. Hinds, Rebecca C. Sarao, Ping Cheng Wu, Cheryl L. Maslen, Robert W. Glanville, Darcie Babcock, Kenton W. Gregory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


The development of vascular grafts has focused on finding a biomaterial that is non-thrombogenic, minimizes intimal hyperplasia, matches the mechanical properties of native vessels and allows for regeneration of arterial tissue. In this study, the structural and mechanical properties and the vascular cell compatibility of electrospun recombinant human tropoelastin (rTE) were evaluated as a potential vascular graft support matrix. Disuccinimidyl suberate (DSS) was used to cross-link electrospun rTE fibers to produce a polymeric recombinant tropoelastin (prTE) matrix that is stable in aqueous environments. Tubular 1 cm diameter prTE samples were constructed for uniaxial tensile testing and 4 mm small-diameter prTE tubular scaffolds were produced for burst pressure and cell compatibility evaluations from 15 wt.% rTE solutions. Uniaxial tensile tests demonstrated an average ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of 0.36 ± 0.05 MPa and elastic moduli of 0.15 ± 0.04 and 0.91 ± 0.16 MPa, which were comparable to extracted native elastin. Burst pressures of 485 ± 25 mm Hg were obtained from 4 mm internal diameter scaffolds with 453 ± 74 μm average wall thickness. prTE supported endothelial cell growth with typical endothelial cell cobblestone morphology after 48 h in culture. Cross-linked electrospun rTE has promising properties for utilization as a vascular graft biomaterial with customizable dimensions, a compliant matrix and vascular cell compatibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-233
Number of pages9
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Electrospinning
  • Mechanical properties
  • Tissue engineering
  • Tropoelastin
  • Vascular grafts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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