There is a considerable clinical need for a sufficient prosthetic small-diameter substitute which can compete with autologous vessels. Currently used synthetic materials have a poor performance due to high thrombogeneicity and development of intimal hyperplasia. Tissue engineering is an interesting alternative approach for vascular graft fabrication.
We briefly overviewed the development of tissue-engineered vascular substitutes including endothelialized biohybrid grafts, collagen and fibrin-based scaffolds, decellularized scaffolds, cell self-assembly approaches, and biodegradable constructs based on synthetic polymers.
Significant advances have been made over the past decades in the development of tissue-engineered conduits. Biomechanical weakness, one of the major limitations of biologically based grafts has been resolved and two tissue-engineered grafts are currently under further investigation for clinical application.
Vascular tissue engineering is a promising approach to overcome the limitations of current therapies in small-diameter vascular replacement.