Biocompatibility and hemocompatibility of polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel used for vascular grafting - In vitro and in vivo studies

Nuno Alexandre*, Jorge Ribeiro, Andrea Gärtner, Tiago Pereira, Irina Amorim, João Fragoso, Ascensão Lopes, João Fernandes, Elísio Costa, Alice Santos-Silva, Miguel Rodrigues, José Domingos Santos, Ana Colette Maurício, Ana Lúcia Luís

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)


Polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel (PVA) is a synthetic polymer with an increasing application in the biomedical field that can potentially be used for vascular grafting. However, the tissue and blood-material interactions of such gels and membranes are unknown in detail. The objectives of this study were to: (a) assess the biocompatibility and (b) hemocompatibility of PVA-based membranes in order to get some insight into its potential use as a vascular graft. PVA was evaluated isolated or in copolymerization with dextran (DX), a biopolymer with known effects in blood coagulation homeostasis. The effects of the mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) isolated from the umbilical cord Wharton's jelly in the improvement of PVA biocompatibility and in the vascular regeneration were also assessed. The biocompatibility of PVA was evaluated by the implantation of membranes in subcutaneous tissue using an animal model (sheep). Histological samples were assessed and the biological response parameters such as polymorphonuclear neutrophilic leucocytes and macrophage scoring evaluated in the implant/tissue interface by International Standards Office (ISO) Standard 10993-6 (annex E). According to the scoring system based on those parameters, a total value was obtained for each animal and for each experimental group. The in vitro hemocompatibility studies included the classic hemolysis assay and both human and sheep bloods were used. Relatively to biocompatibility results, PVA was slightly irritant to the surrounding tissues; PVA-DX or PVA plus MSCs groups presented the lowest score according to ISO Standard 10993-6. Also, PVA was considered a nonhemolytic biomaterial, presenting the lowest values for hemolysis when associated to DX.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4262-4275
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biocompatibility
  • Hemocompatibility
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel
  • Sheep model
  • Vascular graft


Dive into the research topics of 'Biocompatibility and hemocompatibility of polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel used for vascular grafting - In vitro and in vivo studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this