Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an imaging mo-dality that enables assessment of tissue structural characteristics. Studies have indicated that OCT is a useful method to assess both blood vessel morphology and the response of a vessel to a deployed stent. We evaluated the ability of OCT to visualize the cellular lining of a tissue-engineered blood vessel mimic (BVM) and the response of this lining to a bare metal stent. We develop a side-firing endoscope that obtains intraluminal, longitudinal scans within the sterile bioreactor environment, enabling time-serial assessment. Seventeen BVMs are imaged with the endoscopic OCT system. The BVMs are then evaluated via fluorescence microscopy and/or standard histologic techniques. We determine that (1) the OCT endoscope can be repeatedly inserted without visible damage to the BVM cellular lining, (2) OCT provides a precise measure of cellular lining thickness with good correlation to measurements obtained from histological sections, and (3) OCT is capable of monitoring the accumulation of cellular material in response to a metallic stent. Our studies indicate that OCT is a useful technique for monitoring the BVM cellular lining, and that OCT may facilitate the use of BVMs for early stage device assessment.


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering

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