Burger
Journalpaper

Encasement of metallic cardiovascular stents with endothelial cell-selective copolyetheresterurethane microfibers

Abstract

Cardiovascular metallic stents established in clinical application are typically coated by a thin polymeric layer on the stent struts to improve hemocompatibility, whereby often a drug is added to the coating to inhibit neointimal hyperplasia. Besides such thin film coatings recently nano/microfiber coated stents are investigated, whereby the fibrous coating was applied circumferential on stents. Here, we explored whether a thin fibrous encasement of metallic stents with preferentially longitudinal aligned fibers and different local fiber densities can be achieved by electrospinning. An elastic degradable copolyetheresterurethane, which is reported to selectively enhance the adhesion of endothelial cells, while simultaneously rejecting smooth muscle cells, was utilized for stent coating. The fibrous stent encasements were microscopically assessed regarding their single fiber diameters, fiber covered area and fiber alignment at three characteristic stent regions before and after stent expansion. Stent coatings with thicknesses in the range from 30 to 50 µm were achieved via electrospinning with 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoro-2-propanol (HFP)-based polymer solution, while a mixture of HFP and formic acid as solvent resulted in encasements with a thickness below 5 µm comprising submicron sized single fibers. All polymeric encasements were mechanically stable during expansion, whereby the fibers deposited on the struts remained their position. The observed changes in fiber density and diameter indicated diverse local deformation mechanisms of the microfibers at the different regions between the struts. Based on these results it can be anticipated that the presented fibrous encasement of stents might be a promising alternative to stents with polymeric strut coatings releasing anti-proliferative drugs.
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