The effect of stromal cell-derived factor-1α/heparin coating of biodegradable vascular grafts on the recruitment of both endothelial and smooth muscle progenitor cells for accelerated regeneration

Jian Yu, Aijun Wang, Zhenyu Tang, Jeffrey Henry, Benjamin Li-Ping Lee, Yiqian Zhu, Failei Yuan, Fengping Huang, Song Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

104 Scopus citations


Small-diameter synthetic vascular grafts have high failure rate and tissue-engineered blood vessels are limited by the scalability. Here we engineered bioactive materials for in situ vascular tissue engineering, which recruits two types of endogenous progenitor cells for the regeneration of blood vessels. Heparin was conjugated to microfibrous vascular grafts to suppress thrombogenic responses, and stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) was immobilized onto heparin to recruit endogenous progenitor cells. Heparin-bound SDF-1α was more stable than adsorbed SDF-1α under both static and flow conditions. Microfibrous grafts were implanted in rats by anastomosis to test the functional performance. Heparin coating improved the short-term patency, and immobilized SDF-1α further improved the long-term patency. SDF-1α effectively recruited endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) to the luminal surface of the grafts, which differentiated into endothelial cells (ECs) and accelerated endothelialization. More interestingly, SDF-1α increased the recruitment of smooth muscle progenitor cells (SMPCs) to the grafts, and SMPCs differentiated into smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in vivo and in vitro. Consistently, SDF-1α-immobilized grafts had significantly higher elastic modulus. This work demonstrates the feasibility of simultaneously recruiting progenitor cells of ECs and SMCs for in situ blood vessel regeneration. This in situ tissue engineering approach will have broad applications in regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8062-8074
Number of pages13
Issue number32
StatePublished - Nov 2012



  • In situ tissue engineering
  • Progenitor cells
  • SDF-1α
  • Vascular grafts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Biophysics

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