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Tissue response, macrophage phenotype, and intrinsic calcification induced by cardiovascular biomaterials: Can clinical regenerative potential be predicted in a rat subcutaneous implant model?

Authors:Cramer, Madeline; Chang, Jordan; Li, Hongshuai; Serrero, Aurelie; El-Kurdi, Mohammed; Cox, Martijn; Schoen, Frederick J.; Badylak, Stephen F.

Online: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jbm.a.37280

Issue: J Biomed Mater Res A. 2022 Feb;110(2):245-256.


The host immune response to an implanted biomaterial, particularly the phenotype of infiltrating macrophages, is a key determinant of biocompatibility and downstream remodeling outcome. The present study used a subcutaneous rat model to compare the tissue response, including macrophage phenotype, remodeling potential, and calcification propensity of a biologic scaffold composed of glutaraldehyde-fixed bovine pericardium (GF-BP), the standard of care for heart valve replacement, with those of an electrospun polycarbonate-based supramolecular polymer scaffold (ePC-UPy), urinary bladder extracellular matrix (UBM-ECM), and a polypropylene mesh (PP). The ePC-UPy and UBM-ECM materials induced infiltration of mononuclear cells throughout the thickness of the scaffold within 2 days and neovascularization at 14 days. GF-BP and PP elicited a balance of pro-inflammatory (M1-like) and anti-inflammatory (M2-like) macrophages, while UBM-ECM and ePC-UPy supported a dominant M2-like macrophage phenotype at all timepoints. Relative to GF-BP, ePC-UPy was markedly less susceptible to calcification for the 180 day duration of the study. UBM-ECM induced an archetypical constructive remodeling response dominated by M2-like macrophages and the PP caused a typical foreign body reaction dominated by M1-like macrophages. The results of this study highlight the divergent macrophage and host remodeling response to biomaterials with distinct physical and chemical properties and suggest that the rat subcutaneous implantation model can be used to predict in vivo biocompatibility and regenerative potential for clinical application of cardiovascular biomaterials.