Vein Graft Harvesting Induces Inflammation and Impairs Vessel Reactivity

Kazuhiro Hinokiyama, Guro Valen, Shinichi Tokuno, Jenny Bäcklund Vedin, Jarle Vaage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Saphenous veins are often used for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), but loss of patency is a problem. The surgical procedure may contribute to graft injury. Our aim was to study the impact of surgical handling of saphenous veins on graft inflammation and vascular function. Methods: Biopsy samples of saphenous veins were taken from 9 patients undergoing elective CABG at the start of vein harvesting (open technique) and after the last proximal anastomosis was sutured. Messenger RNA was extracted and amplified with semiquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Gene expression of proinflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β), leukocyte adhesion molecules (E-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1), and vasoactive substances (endothelin-1, inducible and endothelial nitric oxide synthase) was investigated. Translocation of nuclear factor-κB (NFκB) was evaluated with electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Immunostaining for von Willebrand factor was performed to evaluate loss of endothelium, and in vitro vein reactivity to phenylephrine and endothelin-1 was studied. Results: Gene expression of cytokines and leukocyte adhesion molecules increased after graft harvesting and storage, whereas vasoactive substances did not change. Nuclear translocation of NFκB occurred after surgical handling, concurrent with partial loss of endothelium and impaired contractile function. Conclusions: Standard surgical handling of vein grafts induces NFκB-driven inflammation in the vessel wall and impairs vascular function. This may potentially contribute to both early and late graft occlusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1458-1464
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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