Human Saphenous Vein Response to Trans-wall Oxygen Gradients in a Novel Ex Vivo Conditioning Platform

Marco Piola, Francesca Prandi, Gianfranco Beniamino Fiore, Marco Agrifoglio, Gianluca Polvani, Maurizio Pesce, Monica Soncini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autologous saphenous veins are commonly used for the coronary artery bypass grafting even if they are liable to progressive patency reduction, known as 'vein graft disease'. Although several cellular and molecular causes for vein graft disease have been identified using in vivo models, the metabolic cues induced by sudden interruption of vasa vasorum blood supply have remained unexplored. In the present manuscript, we describe the design of an ex vivo culture system allowing the generation of an oxygen gradient between the luminal and the adventitial sides of the vein. This system featured a separation between the inner and the outer vessel culture circuits, and integrated a purpose-developed de-oxygenator module enabling the trans-wall oxygen distribution (high oxygen level at luminal side and low oxygen level at the adventitial side) existing in arterialized veins. Compared with standard cultures the bypass-specific conditions determined a significant increase in the proliferation of cells around adventitial vasa vasorum and an elevation in the length density of small and large caliber vasa vasorum. These results suggest, for the first time, a cause-effect relationship between the vein adventitial hypoxia and a neo-vascularization process, a factor known to predispose the arterialized vein conduits to restenosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1449-61
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia
  • Male
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Oxygen
  • Saphenous Vein
  • Vasa Vasorum
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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