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Degradation of Iodinated Cardiovascular Scaffolds can be monitored in vivo with CT scanning
Hanna Talacua1, Serge Söntjens2, Lex A. van Herwerden1, Tina Thakker3, Aryan Vink1, Aurelie Brizard4, Henk Janssen2, Jolanda Kluin1.
1UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands, 2SyMo-Chem BV, Eindhoven, Netherlands, 3Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands, 4Philips, Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Objective The ultimate goal of in situ tissue engineering is an autologous tissue engineered substitute, which is able to grow and remodel. The scaffold used should be biocompatible, non-thrombogenic, and biodegradable. To monitor degradation of biomaterials, non-invasive imaging is of great interest. The objective of this study is to investigate whether degradation of iodinated scaffolds can be monitored in vivo with CT scanning. Methods Biopolymers were modified with iodinated compounds, to render them radiopaque. Upon degradation of the biopolymers, the iodine content slowly decreases, allowing the degradation state of the scaffold to be monitored in a non-invasive manner. The material was electrospun, leading to porous materials suitable for implantation. 24 Rats received an interposition graft with or without iodinated compounds (n=12 per group). To examine tissue formation and scaffold degradation grafts were explanted at different time points (t= 1 day, 2 weeks and 1 month; n=4 per group). The explanted grafts were analyzed with (immuno)histochemistry and gel permeation chromatography (GPC). Before termination a CT scan with and without contrast was made. Results Grafts without iodine were not visible on CT images. Iodinated grafts were detected on CT images. Over time a decrease in iodine volume was seen, corresponding with material degradation. The administered contrast was only visible in the lumen of the grafts. With histology a phased tissue formation was observed after 1 month in both groups. Cellular content and tissue formation was equal in both groups. Conclusion While there is still tissue formation in vivo, the degradation of iodinated scaffolds can be monitored in vivo with CT scanning, This finding is of special interest for heart valve tissue engineering, because it is opening the possibility to monitor patients non-invasively. As a next step towards a clinical application of this method iodinated pulmonary heart valve prostheses will be implanted in a sheep model.

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