A genetically engineered, adherent smooth muscle cell lining for left ventricular assist devices

Christine Linn Tock, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Due to the clinical success of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) used for short term "bridge to transplant" and the limited availability of donor organs, heart assist devices are being considered for long term implantation as an alternative to heart transplantation. In an effort to improve biocompatibility, a nonthrombogenic cellular lining was developed from genetically engineered smooth muscle cells (GE-SMC) for the Thermocardiosystems Heartmate$\sp{\rm TM}$ LVAD. SMCs have been transduced with the genes for endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS III) and GTP cyclohydrolase (GTPCH) with subsequent stable expression of the NOS III protein via an Epstein Barr based DNA expression vector. Transduced SMCs produce nitric oxide at concentrations that reduce platelet deposition and smooth muscle cell proliferation when tested in vitro. In addition, the adhesive capabilities of GE-SMC linings were also examined, and optimized in physical environments mimicking typical in vivo LVAD operation. Preliminary investigations examining cell adhesion during constant shear stress exposure demonstrated an acute phase of cell loss corresponding to cytoskeletal F-actin rearrangement. Subsequently, an in vitro circulatory loop was designed to expose cell lined LVADs to in vivo operating conditions. Cumulative cell loss from cell lined LVADs was less than 10% after 24 hours of flow. Using a protocol for "preconditioning" the cell lining within the mock circulatory loop, the first implantation of an LVAD containing a genetically engineered SMC lining was successfully implemented in a bovine model. Results from this 24 hour study indicate that the flow-conditioned cellular lining remained intact with no evidence of thromboembolization and only minimal changes in coagulation studies.

Subject Area

Biophysics|Biomedical research

Recommended Citation

Tock, Christine Linn, "A genetically engineered, adherent smooth muscle cell lining for left ventricular assist devices" (1998). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9838741.