Researchers have developed hybrid biodegradable electronic blood vessels that promote new blood vessel formation and wound healing.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. In some cases, their treatment requires replacement of blood vessels, for which doctors can use blood vessels from the patient’s own body, or artificial analogs. The second option is only suitable for replacing large vessels with a width of more than 6 mm, since they do not interact well with natural channels, which are often inflamed and narrowed under the influence of blood flow..
Now a team of bioengineers from the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen has developed a promising hybrid blood vessel that does not cause an inflammatory response. To create it, scientists used flexible biodegradable polymer membrane sheets, into which they embedded circuits made of an electrically conductive liquid metal polymer. Then they placed layers of human blood vessel cells on these sheets and rolled them into multilayer tubes..
Electrical stimulation of these artificial vessels promotes the growth and migration of blood vessel cells located in the inner walls of the tubes. Researchers say this behavior may promote new blood vessel formation and wound healing.. In addition, the generated electric fields increase the permeability of cell membranes, which can be used to improve gene therapy..
In experiments, scientists replaced the carotid arteries of laboratory rabbits with electronic blood vessels. Three-month studies showed that they provided adequate blood flow throughout the duration and function just like natural arteries, without signs of narrowing. After removing the implants and analyzing the internal organs of the animals, there was no indication that artificial blood vessels caused inflammatory reactions..
In the future, the team plans to integrate sensors into electronic vessels that will collect data on blood pressure, blood flow rate and sugar level. Scientists want to add a layer of drugs to them that will be released when a specific problem is detected..
We also previously reported on the creation of an ultrathin endoscope for blood vessels.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo and video: Southern University of Science and Technology
Scientists have invented electronic blood vessels that do not cause an inflammatory response