Bacteria make the artificial blood vessels of the future

Dec 22, 2009
This is a scientist with an artificial blood vessel. Credit: University of Gothenburg

The cellulose produced by bacteria could be used for artificial blood vessels in the future as it carries a lower risk of blood clots than the synthetic materials currently used for bypass operations, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Produced by a known as Acetobacter xylinum, the is strong enough to cope with and works well with the body's own tissue. The thesis shows that the material also carries a lower risk of blood clots than the synthetic materials currently in use.

"There are hardly any at all with the bacterial cellulose, and the blood coagulates much more slowly than with the materials I used as a comparison," says molecular biologist Helen Fink, who wrote the thesis. "This means that the cellulose works very well in contact with the blood and is a very interesting alternative for artificial blood vessels."

Real blood vessels have an internal coating of that ensure that the blood does not clot. Helen Fink and her colleagues have modified the bacterial cellulose so that these cells adhere better.

"We've used a brand new method which allows us to increase the number of cells that grow in the bacterial cellulose without changing the material's structure," says Fink.

If the coronary vessels around the heart are blocked as a result of hardening of the arteries, it may be necessary to carry out a bypass operation. Every year around 6,000 of these operations are carried out in Sweden. The surgeon takes a section of a vein from, for example, the patient's leg, and uses it to divert the blood around the hardened artery. Where patients do not have any suitable vessels, a vessel made of synthetic material is used instead.

Explore further: Serotonin neuron subtypes: New insights could inform SIDS understanding, depression treatment

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

More blood vessels in hormone-resistant prostate tumors

Dec 15, 2009

Patients with advanced prostate cancer are often treated with hormones, but when the tumours start growing again they have more and different blood vessels, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy, at the University ...

Protein identified that plays role in blood flow

Sep 18, 2008

For years, researchers have known that high blood pressure causes blood vessels to contract and low blood pressure causes blood vessels to relax. Until recently, however, researchers did not have the tools to determine the ...

Newly discovered mechanism by which blood clots form

Dec 10, 2009

Polyphosphate from blood platelets plays a key role in inflammation and the formation of blood clots, scientists from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have shown. The study, which is presented in the prestigious ...

Step out for PAD

Dec 15, 2008

You probably know that poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to dangerous deposits of fatty plaques in arteries. But it is not just the heart that is affected – blood flow can be blocked to the legs too, leading to pain ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.