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Characterisation of polyvinyl alcohol hydrogels modified with chitosan for cardiovascular applications


Mathews, David T.;

Institution: Dublin City University. School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Subject Keywords: Mechanical engineering; Biomechanics; Vascular tissue substitutes; PVA hydrogels;
Topic: Cardiovascular Health (Draft)
Chronic Conditions
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland

The use of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) hydrogels combined with chitosan as a vascular tissue substitute for in vitro vascular cell culture studies was investigated. Hydrogels possess many characteristics that can be controlled and adjusted during the fabrication processes, such as tissue-like elasticity, mechanical strength and permeability. In order to develop a material with appropriate inherent material properties that may be used to fabricate a bioartificial vessel with appropriate structural properties, arterial wall mechanics were investigated. A three layer finite element model, incorporating the effects of circumferential and longitudinal residual stresses, was developed to identify the effect of vessel geometry, constitutive properties and residual stresses on the structural response of an arterial segment.

Chitosan was blended to the hydrogel to enhance cell adhesion and growth. The effect of fabrication parameters on the mechanical and morphological characterisation of the PVA-chitosan blended hydrogels was determined using uniaxial extension tests, bi-axial inflation tests, opening angle observations and scanning electron microscopy. PVA-chitosan hydrogel vessels were constructed, and the compliance was measured and compared with numerical predictions.

In vitro experiments have been conducted to investigate vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cell adhesion and growth to PVA-chitosan hydrogel surfaces. The structure and composition of the cultured cells on the PVA-chitosan hydrogel surfaces was studied using immunocytochemistry techniques. Cellular proliferation and viability under static and shear culture conditions have been explored using fluorescent activated cell sorter analysis.

The finite element analysis results showed that the constitutive properties had a significant affect on the overall structural response of the artery wall. The mechanical and morphological studies established that the PVA-chitosan blended hydrogel membranes could be fabricated with similar properties to porcine aortic tissue. The findings of the biological experiments demonstrated that vascular cells adhered to the PVA-chitosan membranes and exhibited comparable proliferation and apoptosis characteristics to control samples. The results described increase understanding of PVA-chitosan blended hydrogel membranes specifically with regard to the development of bioartificial vessels for use in in vitro vascular bioreactors.



Suggested citation:

Mathews, David T.; . () Characterisation of polyvinyl alcohol hydrogels modified with chitosan for cardiovascular applications [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 12th November 2019].


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