An in vitro method to keep human aortic tissue sections functionally and structurally intact

Jorn P. Meekel, Menno E. Groeneveld, Natalija Bogunovic, Niels Keekstra, René J.P. Musters, Behrouz Zandieh-Doulabi, Gerard Pals, Dimitra Micha, Hans W.M. Niessen, Arno M. Wiersema, Jur K. Kievit, Arjan W.J. Hoksbergen, Willem Wisselink, Jan D. Blankensteijn, Kak K. Yeung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The pathophysiology of aortic aneurysms (AA) is far from being understood. One reason for this lack of understanding is basic research being constrained to fixated cells or isolated cell cultures, by which cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix communications are missed. We present a new, in vitro method for extended preservation of aortic wall sections to study pathophysiological processes. Intraoperatively harvested, live aortic specimens were cut into 150 μm sections and cultured. Viability was quantified up to 92 days using immunofluorescence. Cell types were characterized using immunostaining. After 14 days, individual cells of enzymatically digested tissues were examined for cell type and viability. Analysis of AA sections (N = 8) showed a viability of 40% at 7 days and smooth muscle cells, leukocytes, and macrophages were observed. Protocol optimization (N = 4) showed higher stable viability at day 62 and proliferation of new cells at day 92. Digested tissues showed different cell types and a viability up to 75% at day 14. Aortic tissue viability can be preserved until at least 62 days after harvesting. Cultured tissues can be digested into viable single cells for additional techniques. Present protocol provides an appropriate ex vivo setting to discover and study pathways and mechanisms in cultured human aneurysmal aortic tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8094
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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