Bachelor End Project of Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology

Incorporation of antibacterial agents in artificial vascular access grafts for haemodialysis


End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is a major complication that arises as a consequence of common diseases such as diabetes and hypertension and that can lead to death. In these patients, renal functionality is below 10% of the normal capacity and require renal replacement therapies, such as haemodialysis. To perform haemodialysis (HD) an adequate access to blood flow is required. An artificial vascular access graft (AVG) is a tubular construct which is inserted between an artery and a vein, usually in the forearm of the patient, to create an artificial fistula and increase blood flow for HD cannulation. 

Infections are a common complication associated with vascular grafts implantation and more commonly to repeated cannulation necessary for haemodialysis. In this project we aim at incorporating an antibacterial agent in the polymeric electrospun mesh used for the graft production for effectively preventing and treating the initial phases of infections and prolong graft lifespan.

The antibacterial agent should successfully kill bacteria but should also be non-cytotoxic to surrounding endothelial cells. In the effort to find an optimal concentration range, in this project you will investigate the effect of different antibacterial agents embedded in different materials on cultured endothelial cells, both in direct contact with the material as well as upon release in solution. During this project you will learn basics of cell culture, cell seeding, and standard cytotoxicity assays (LDH assays) and cell counting (dsDNA quantification) and metabolism (presto blue).