Properties of blood-contacting surfaces of clinically implanted cardiac assist devices: gene expression, matrix composition, and ultrastructural characterization of cellular linings

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; *Biocompatible Materials; *Blood; Case-Control Studies; Cell Adhesion; Evaluation Studies as Topic; Female; *Gene Expression; *Heart-Assist Devices; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Surface Properties


Cell Biology


The development of implantable cardiac assist devices for prolonged circulatory support has been impeded by the problem of excessive thrombogenesis on the blood-prosthetic interface, with subsequent embolization. To overcome this obstacle, a ventricular assist device has been developed with textured blood-contacting surfaces to encourage the formation of a tightly adherent, hemocompatible, biological lining. In this study, we applied molecular biological techniques, in conjunction with conventional ultrastructural and biochemical techniques, to characterize the biological linings associated with the blood-contacting surfaces of 11 of these devices, which had been clinically implanted for durations ranging from 21 to 324 days. No clinical thromboembolic events or pump-related thromboembolism occurred. Biological linings developed on the textured surfaces composed of patches of cellular tissue intermingled with areas of compact fibrinous material. In addition, islands of collagenous tissue containing fibroblast-like cells appeared after 30 days of implantation. Many of these cells contained microfilaments with dense bodies indicative of myofibroblasts. RNA hybridization analyses demonstrated that the colonizing cells actively expressed genes encoding proteins for cell proliferation (histones), adhesion (fibronectin), cytoskeleton (actin, vimentin) and extracellular matrix (types I and III collagen). Linings, which never exceeded 150 microns in thickness, remained free of pathological calcification. Textured blood-contacting surfaces induced the formation of a thin, tightly adherent, viable lining which exhibited excellent long-term hemocompatibility.

DOI of Published Version



J Cell Biochem. 1995 Mar;57(3):557-73. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of cellular biochemistry

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID