Engineering of Vascular Grafts via Electrospinning and 3D Printing

Authors: Anthony Ma, Amy Guo, Farhana Haque

Advisor: Dr. Song Li

Coronary artery disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, responsible for approximately 18 million deaths annually. As arterial bypass conduits, synthetic vascular grafts have performed poorly in comparison to autologous vessels due to poor endothelialization, mechanical mismatching relative to the native vasculature, and susceptibility to kinking. Therefore, to improve upon synthetic vascular graft performance, electrospun poly(𝜀-caprolactone) microfibers were layered on both sides of a kink-resistant 3D-printed thermoplastic polyurethane cylindrical mesh. This combinatory technique can allow for enhanced cell infiltration post-implantation via the biomimetic fiber domain in addition to mechanical reinforcement and potential for customizability provided by the 3D-printed structure. Ideal mechanical properties mimicking that of native coronary artery vessels were achieved by promoting layer integration through administration of a poly(carbonate urethane) liquid gel between the 3D-printed mesh and the outer electrospun layer. This study lays the groundwork for customizable and mechanically robust vascular grafts conducive to host-tissue integration.