To determine the origin, cell type present, and rate of endothelial cell coverage of PTFE grafts, 5-cm segments of 4-mm-diameter, 60-μm PTFE grafts were implanted end-to-end bilaterally in the carotid arteries of greyhound dogs, An external jugular vein wrap was applied to the outer surface of one of the PTFE grafts; the contralateral PTFE graft, which was unwrapped, served as its control. Two dogs each were sacrificed at 3, 5, 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35 days postimplantation. Anastomotic endothelial ingrowth was analyzed using scanning electron microscopy. Microvessel ingrowth was documented in longitudinal H and E sections. Cell identity was established by immunohistochemistry with factor VIII antibody, Ulex europaes, leukocyte common antigen, and antibodies to α-actin, desmin, vimentin, and basic fibroblast growth factor. All grafts were patent at the time of harvest. Endothelial cell migration from the native artery adjacent to the anastomosis commenced at 7 days, extended to 5 mm beyond the proximal and distal anastomoses by 14 days and to 1.0 cm by 35 days. Endothelialization of the mid-portion of the wrapped grafts occurred via microvessel ingrowth, a process which began at 7 days. Microvessels reached the luminal surface by 28 days and an endothelial cell monolayer was established by 35 days. Wrapping the external surface of the graft with vein increased the rate of graft healing. Basic fibroblast growth factor was detectable by immunohistochemistry at the vein wrap-graft interface in the first 14 days.
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