Genetically engineered endothelial cells remain adherent and viable after stent deployment and exposure to flow in vitro.
Intravascular stents, currently in experimental human use for recurrent arterial stenosis, are plagued by subacute thrombosis. As a therapeutic approach to stent-related thrombosis, we and others have suggested coating stents with endothelial cells before implantation. In a previous study we demonstrated the feasibility of coating stents with endothelial cells that were genetically modified to secrete large amounts of human tissue plasminogen activator. In the present study we attempted both to develop a clinically applicable protocol for stent seeding and to test whether seeded cells would remain adherent to stents after exposure to pulsatile flow. Endothelial cells were harvested from the saphenous veins of sheep with survival of the donor animals. Harvested cells were transduced with a retroviral vector containing a marker gene and seeded onto catheter-mounted stents under sterile conditions. Scanning electron microscopy revealed complete coverage of the stent surfaces by seeded cells. Stents were expanded and exposed to pulsatile flow in vitro. Substantial cell retention was observed on the lateral stent surfaces by light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy; fewer cells were seen on the luminal and abluminal surfaces. Removal of seeded cells from flow-exposed stents by trypsin digestion resulted in the recovery of approximately 70% of the seeded cells. These cells were viable and healthy as judged by their ability to proliferate to confluence with the same kinetics as control (non-flow-exposed) cells. Autologous genetically modified endothelial cells can be seeded onto catheter-mounted stents in a sterile manner, and stent deployment under flow conditions results in substantial retention of viable cells.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association