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In Vitro Endothelialization of Surface-Integrated Nanofiber Networks for Stretchable Blood Interfaces

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posted on 22.01.2019 by Lukas Weidenbacher, Eike Müller, Anne Géraldine Guex, Manuel Zündel, Peter Schweizer, Vita Marina, Christian Adlhart, Lucie Vejsadová, Robin Pauer, Erdmann Spiecker, Katharina Maniura-Weber, Stephen J. Ferguson, René M. Rossi, Markus Rottmar, Giuseppino Fortunato
Despite major technological advances within the field of cardiovascular engineering, the risk of thromboembolic events on artificial surfaces in contact with blood remains a major challenge and limits the functionality of ventricular assist devices (VADs) during mid- or long-term therapy. Here, a biomimetic blood–material interface is created via a nanofiber-based approach that promotes the endothelialization capability of elastic silicone surfaces for next-generation VADs under elevated hemodynamic loads. A blend fiber membrane made of elastic polyurethane and low-thrombogenic poly­(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) was partially embedded into the surface of silicone films. These blend membranes resist fundamental irreversible deformation of the internal structure and are stably attached to the surface, while also exhibiting enhanced antithrombotic properties when compared to bare silicone. The composite material supports the formation of a stable monolayer of endothelial cells within a pulsatile flow bioreactor, resembling the physiological in vivo situation in a VAD. The nanofiber surface modification concept thus presents a promising approach for the future design of advanced elastic composite materials that are particularly interesting for applications in contact with blood.