Biomedical and General Engineering Department
BS in Biomedical Engineering
Coronary artery disease has become the leading cause of death in the United States, with over 425,000 deaths in 2006. Stenting has evolved into the preferred preventative technique for myocardial infarction by opening up an occluded artery, due to its low invasiveness compared to the alternative of coronary artery bypass grafting. Bare metal stents have been improved by coating with anti-proliferative drugs to advance their effects, but even drug eluting stents still have a risk of restenosis, thrombus formation, and necessary revascularization. Continual advancement in stent design necessitates faster, effective pre-clinical evaluation techniques. Kristen Cardinal, Ph.D., developed the blood vessel mimic for in-vitro evaluation of coronary stents. The blood vessel mimic currently uses ePTFE as a tubular scaffolding for vessel development, but this material falls short of the mechanical properties of the native vessel. Aubrey Smith, M.S., developed a protocol for decellularizing porcine arteries. Decellularization is the process of removing cells from a native tissue, leaving only the extracellular matrix scaffold. The decellularized vessels could be a potential replacement for ePTFE in the blood vessel mimic. The present study was done to replicate the protocol developed by Ms. Smith, and evaluate if it produces repeatable results. Methods included decellularization of porcine arteries by perfusion with sodium dodecyl sulfate solution, and evaluation using histology as well as uniaxial tensile testing. Results from this study were similar to those found by Ms. Smith, indicating that the protocol does produce repeatable decellularized arteries.