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Biomedical Reviews

An overview of experimental autogenous vein grafts

John K. McGeachie, Marc Tennant


Examination of the changes in experimental autogenous vein grafts has presented some important results for both human surgical grafts and also for atherosclerosis. We have developed a microsurgical grafting model in the rat, by anastomosing 4 mm of the iliolumbar vein into the iliac artery. The primary cellular response involves the proliferation and migration of endothelium and smooth muscle cells from the adjacent artery. The majority of this activity is complete within the first 4 weeks after grafting. This development of the new cells in the vein graft is described as intimal (or neointimal) hyperplasia. The revascularization by the vasa vasorum and the reestablishment of sympathetic reinnervation of the graft have both been quantitated in detail. In addition, we are now examining factors that influence the intimal hyperplastic response, specifically nicotine, cholesterol and high blood pressure. These factors, as well as being of clinical importance, also give an indication of the pathogenesis of intimal hyperplasia. In this article we briefly review the work that we have completed over the last 15 years and its relevance to the experimental and clinical research literature on intimal hyperplasia.

Biomedical Reviews 1992; 1: 25-32.

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About The Authors

John K. McGeachie
University of Western Australia

Marc Tennant
University of Western Australia

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