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Comparison Of Tissue Integrity And Morphology Of Decellularized Bovine Pericardium With And Without Gluteraldehyde Fixation In A Juvenile Sheep Model
Lezelle Botes1, Johan Jordaan2, Jackie Goedhals2, Johannes J. van den Heever2, Pascal M. Dohmen3, Francis E. Smit2.
1Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein, South Africa, 2University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa, 3University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany.

OBJECTIVE: Decellularization agents may reduce the mechanical strength of pericardial scaffolds. Glutaraldehyde (GA)-fixation is thus widely used to improve scaffold strength. This study compared the impact of a novel decellularization method with and without GA-fixation on the tissue integrity and morphology of bovine pericardial scaffolds in an ovine model.
METHODS: The impact of the processing methods on tissue strength and morphology was assessed prior to implantation. Bovine decellularized pericardial scaffolds (BPS, Group 1) were implanted in the descending aorta and main pulmonary artery of six (6) sheep and compared to bovine decellularized, GA-fixed and detoxified (D-GAD) patches (Group 2, n=6). The clinical, mechanical and morphological integrity of the explanted scaffolds were evaluated after 180-days implantation.
RESULTS: Acellularity was confirmed in both groups after processing. Tensile strength (TS, p = 0.0514) and the Youngs Modulus (YM, p = 0.0605) of the pre-implanted BGS and D-GAD groups were comparable. Although collagen bundles in both groups were well preserved prior to implantation, collagen was condensed in group 2. Echocardiography confirmed the absence of aneurysm formation, calcification or disintegration. The explanted pulmonary TS and elastic modulus were comparable between groups (TS, p = 0.0628; YM, p = 0.3121) and above the minimum native human ascending aorta strength (1.8 0.24 MPa). Group1 demonstrated extensive recellularisation. Group 2 demonstrated minimal recellularisation and collagen was densely collapsed. Secretory vacuoles were visible within the fibroblast-like cells in group 1. A fibrous encapsulation with thickening of the scaffold was demonstrated in Group 2 which was absent in the decellularized scaffolds.$$graphic{4751682D-5973-4F69-944A-07B3AA63CED4}
CONCLUSIONS: GA-fixation resulted in a densely collapsed collagen scaffold, limited recellularisation and the development of a fibrous encapsulation with thickening of the implant. Further research in the use of BPS without GA-fixation it warranted.


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