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Physiology - Surgery

The Peritoneum as a Natural Scaffold for Vascular Regeneration
Published: Friday, March 16, 2012
Author: Stefano Bonvini et al.

by Stefano Bonvini, Mattia Albiero, Luca Ferretto, Annalisa Angelini, Piero Battocchio, Marny Fedrigo, Michele Piazza, Gaetano Thiene, Angelo Avogaro, Gian Paolo Fadini, Franco Grego


The peritoneum has the same developmental origin as blood vessels, is highly reactive and poorly thrombogenic. We hypothesize that parietal peritoneum can sustain development and regeneration of new vessels.

Methods and Results

The study comprised two experimental approaches. First, to test surgical feasibility and efficacy of the peritoneal vascular autograft, we set up an autologous transplantation procedure in pigs, where a tubularized parietal peritoneal graft was covered with a metal mesh and anastomosed end-to-end in the infrarenal aorta. Second, to dissect the contribution of graft vs host cells to the newly developed vessel wall, we performed human-to-rat peritoneal patch grafting in the abdominal aorta and examined the origin of endothelial and smooth muscle cells. In pig experiments, the graft remodeled to an apparently normal blood vessel, without thrombosis. Histology confirmed arterialization of the graft with complete endothelial coverage and neointimal hyperplasia in the absence of erosion, inflammation or thrombosis. In rats, immunostaining for human mitochondri revealed that endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells rarely were of human origin. Remodeling of the graft was mainly attributable to local cells with no clear evidence of c-kit+ endothelial progenitor cells or c-kit+ resident perivascular progenitor cells.


The parietal peritoneum can be feasibly used as a scaffold to sustain the regeneration of blood vessels, which appears to occur through the contribution of host-derived resident mature cells.