Nonthrombogenic, adhesive cellular lining for left ventricular assist devices. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: The textured, blood-contacting surfaces of the Thermocardiosystems HeartMate left ventricular assist device (LVAD) promote the passivation of the biomaterial caused by the accumulation of an integral coagulum. Commonly, acute, postimplantation thrombocytopenia causes significant bleeding, requiring surgery or blood transfusions. Chronic complications include thromboembolic microevents that can affect central nervous system function. Pumps, explanted during donor organ transplantation, are often found to have an extensive cellular panus associated with the blood-contacting surfaces of the device. This natural cellular lining suggests a possible strategy for improving the blood biocompatibility of the HeartMate. Therefore, seeding of LVADs with cells genetically engineered to enhance their antithrombotic properties before implantation was investigated as a means to improve biocompatibility for long-term use. METHODS AND RESULTS: Bovine vascular smooth muscle cells genetically engineered to produce nitric oxide were seeded on LVAD biomaterials and exposed to elevated shear stresses to determine cell-adhesive capabilities. Comparative studies were performed with vascular endothelial cells isolated from the same vessel. To assess the thrombogenic potential of the genetically engineered smooth muscle cells, monolayers were exposed to whole blood in parallel plate flow chambers and were platelet-adhesion quantified. This procedure used scanning electron microscopy and computer image-capture software. Endothelial cell monolayers and mock-transduced smooth muscle cells were assayed in a comparative manner. LVADs were seeded with genetically engineered smooth muscle cells and maintained under cell culture conditions for 96 hours. Thereafter, seeded LVADs were incorporated into in vitro flow loops. Cell retention within the pump was determined by sampling the effluent culture medium downstream of the pump and cell counting in a Coulter counter. After 18 hours of in vitro flow, a seeded pump was implanted into the abdominal cavity of a calf and anastomosed to the apex of the heart and to the descending aorta. More genetically engineered smooth muscle cells were retained on the surface of LVAD biomaterials when they were subjected to shear stresses up to 75 dyne/cm than endothelial cells assayed in the identical manner. Adherence of platelets to the surface of smooth muscle cells was significantly reduced after their transduction with nitric oxide synthase with GTP cyclohydrolase genes. Platelet deposition on the genetically modified myocyte layers was similar to that associated with endothelial cell layers. Cell loss from cell-seeded LVADs incorporated into in vitro flow loops remained < 5% of the total cell number seeded regardless of the duration of flow. CONCLUSIONS: LVADs seeded with smooth muscle cells, transduced with the genes to optimize nitric oxide production, adhered well to the pump surface under in vitro and in vivo flow conditions.

published proceedings

  • Circulation

author list (cited authors)

  • Scott-Burden, T., Tock, C. L., Bosely, J. P., Clubb, F. J., Parnis, S. M., Schwarz, J. J., ... Casscells, S. W.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Scott-Burden, T||Tock, CL||Bosely, JP||Clubb, FJ||Parnis, SM||Schwarz, JJ||Engler, DA||Frazier, OH||Casscells, SW

publication date

  • November 1998