Bioabsorption qualities of chitosan-absorbable vascular templates

Mohamad I. Haque, Alec C. Beekley, Anna Gutowska, Ruth Ann Reardon, Paul Groo, Sean P. Murray, Charles Andersen, Kenneth Azarow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The scope of endovascular surgical techniques has expanded to include the treatment of diseases considered at one time to be amenable only to surgical treatment. The development of the biodegradable template follows as an extension of current permanent stent technology. The goal of our project is to develop and test chitosan as an absorbable template for the vascular system. Methods Ultrapure chitosan, heparin sodium salt and lysozyme, and contrast agents MD-76R and Oxilan-350 were used to give radioopaque quality. Prototype chitosan vascular templates were obtained by a dip coating method in which alternate layers of chitosan were coagulated with nonsolvents or heparin. The amount of loaded and released heparin was determined using Azure II colorimetric assay. In vitro enzymatic degradation of templates was evaluated using lysozyme solutions in phosphate buffered saline. Mechanical properties were analyzed using the Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer, DMA-7 (Perkin Elmer, Foster City, Calif.). The microstructure of freeze-dried templates was investigated by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE SEM) using an LEO 982 electron microscope (Zeiss, Thornwood, NY). In vivo deployment of the templates was undertaken in 10 full-sized pigs (Sus scrofa). After open expose and control of the iliac artery, a closed balloon catheter technique was used to advance and place the balloon catheter and template. The balloon was then expanded, deploying a Palmaz stent with a chitosan template anchored distally. Patency and deployment of the stent-template complex was confirmed by an arteriogram. The animals were sacrificed at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 weeks poststent placement, and arterial sections were taken for microscopic analysis. The amount of chitosan remaining was estimated to determine an in vivo rate of absorption. Results On hematoxilyn and eosin staining of the section arterial samples, a marked inflammatory response was noted and progressed with duration of in vivo contact. A giant cell foreign body reaction coupled with intense intimal hyperplasia and organized thrombus was also noted and progressed with duration of time in vivo. Also noted was the degradation of the template material with only small remnants of material noted within the giant cell by week 4. Clinically, none of the pigs developed limb ischemia or evidence of thromboembolic events. Conclusions In this in vivo study, the chitosan template proved to be biodegradable but elicited an intense thrombotic and foreign body reaction despite heparin bonding. Further investigation is ongoing as to decreasing the thrombogenic and antigenic qualities of the template materials by either alteration of the base material or addition of bioactive side chains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-80
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Chitosan
  • Endovascular surgery
  • Vascular stents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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