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  • 1 Szent István University Department and Clinic of Surgery and Ophthalmology István utca 2 H-1078 Budapest Hungary
  • 2 Szent István University Department of Pathology and Forensic Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science István utca 2 H-1078 Budapest Hungary
  • 3 Semmelweis University Transplantation and Surgical Clinic Budapest Hungary
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Although experimental autologous patch or tubular conduit vascular grafts made from the internal rectus fascia sheath (IRFS) have been reported in the literature, thorough morphological evaluation and verification of the histological arterialisation of such grafts are lacking. Four purpose-bred Beagle dogs were utilised to create eight arterial internal rectus fascia sheath (ARFS) grafts implanted between bisected ends of the external iliac arteries. Four out of the eight ARFS grafts were patent after three months. Haematoxylin-eosin and Azan staining verified that the grafts gained a vessel-like layered structure with the presence of large amounts of collagen fibres. Although the inner surface of the intact IRFS was originally covered with claudin-5-negative and pancytokeratin-positive mesothelial cells in control samples, the internal cells of the ARFS grafts became claudin-5 positive and pancytokeratin negative like in intact arteries. Spindle-shaped cells of the wall of ARFS grafts were α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) positive just like the smooth muscle cells of intact arteries, but α-SMA immunoreactivity was negative in the intact IRFS. According to these findings, the fibroblast cells of the ARFS graft have changed into myofibroblast cells. The study has proved that ARFS grafts may be used as an alternative in arterial replacement, since the graft becomes morphologically and functionally similar to the host vessel via arterialisation.

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