AGNETA SIMIONESCU, PhD
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering
Stem Cell Differentiation and Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering in Diabetes
Tissue engineered constructs based on scaffolds and autologous progenitor cells are currently being developed1, but very little information exists regarding the fate of tissue engineered devices in the compromised patient, and more specifically in diabetic environments. Diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and diabetics have a significantly greater frequency of cardiovascular disorders. As a consequence, diabetics are more prone to undergo surgery for repair or replacement of tissues such as blood vessels. Diabetes is characterized by elevated levels of glucose, which interacts irreversibly with proteins, lipids and nucleic acids via oxidation and crosslinking processes, resulting in formation of advanced glycosylation end products (AGEs). Glycoxidation induces severe cell and matrix alterations that result in endothelial dysfunction, accelerated atherosclerosis, activation of inflammation, fibrosis, impaired healing and ectopic calcifications all of which are not conducive to the desired integration and remodeling of tissue engineered constructs.