ECM-based materials in cardiovascular applications: Inherent healing potential and augmentation of native regenerative processes

Int J Mol Sci. 2009 Nov 20;10(10):4375-4417. doi: 10.3390/ijms10104375.


The in vivo healing process of vascular grafts involves the interaction of many contributing factors. The ability of vascular grafts to provide an environment which allows successful accomplishment of this process is extremely difficult. Poor endothelisation, inflammation, infection, occlusion, thrombosis, hyperplasia and pseudoaneurysms are common issues with synthetic grafts in vivo. Advanced materials composed of decellularised extracellular matrices (ECM) have been shown to promote the healing process via modulation of the host immune response, resistance to bacterial infections, allowing re-innervation and reestablishing homeostasis in the healing region. The physiological balance within the newly developed vascular tissue is maintained via the recreation of correct biorheology and mechanotransduction factors including host immune response, infection control, homing and the attraction of progenitor cells and infiltration by host tissue. Here, we review the progress in this tissue engineering approach, the enhancement potential of ECM materials and future prospects to reach the clinical environment.

Keywords: extracellular matrix; healing; native regenerative processes; vascular graft.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Biocompatible Materials / metabolism*
  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacology
  • Blood Vessels / physiology*
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Regeneration*
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Biocompatible Materials