Animal studies for the evaluation of in situ tissue-engineered vascular grafts — a systematic review, evidence map, and meta-analysis

Suzanne E. Koch, Bente J. de Kort, Noud Holshuijsen, Hannah F. M. Brouwer, Dewy C. van der Valk, Patricia Y. W. Dankers, Judith A. K. R. van Luijk, Carlijn R. Hooijmans, Rob B. M. de Vries, Carlijn V. C. Bouten & Anthal I. P. M. Smits

Published: December 2022


Vascular in situ tissue engineering (TE) is an approach that uses bioresorbable grafts to induce endogenous regeneration of damaged blood vessels. The evaluation of newly developed in situ TE vascular grafts heavily relies on animal experiments. However, no standard for in vivo models or study design has been defined, hampering inter-study comparisons and translational efficiency. To provide input for formulating such standard, the goal of this study was to map all animal experiments for vascular in situ TE using off-the-shelf available, resorbable synthetic vascular grafts. A literature search (PubMed, Embase) yielded 15,896 studies, of which 182 studies met the inclusion criteria (n = 5,101 animals). The reports displayed a wide variety of study designs, animal models, and biomaterials. Meta-analysis on graft patency with subgroup analysis for species, age, sex, implantation site, and follow-up time demonstrated model-specific variations. This study identifies possibilities for improved design and reporting of animal experiments to increase translational value.

Full Access Link: npj Regenerative Medicine