Towards non-invasive characterisation of coronary stent re-endothelialisation – an in-vitro, electrical impedance study

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The permanent implantation of a stent has become the most common method for ameliorating coronary artery narrowing arising from atherosclerosis. Following the procedure, optimal arterial wall healing is characterised by the complete regrowth of an Endothelial Cell monolayer over the exposed stent surface and surrounding tissue, thereby reducing the risk of thrombosis. However, excessive proliferation of Smooth Muscle Cells, within the artery wall can lead to unwanted renarrowing of the vessel lumen. Current imaging techniques are unable to adequately identify re-endothelialisation, and it has previously been reported that the stent itself could be used as an electrode in combination with electrical impedance spectroscopic techniques to monitor the post-stenting recovery phase. The utility of such a device will be determined by its ability to characterise between vascular cell types. Here we present in-vitro impedance spectroscopy measurements of pulmonary artery porcine Endothelial Cells, Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells and coronary artery porcine Smooth Muscle Cells grown to confluence over platinum black electrodes in clinically relevant populations. These measurements were obtained, using a bespoke impedance spectroscopy system that autonomously performed impedance sweeps in the 1kHz to 100kHz frequency range. Analysis of the reactance component of impedance revealed distinct frequency dependent profiles for each cell type with post confluence reactance declines in Endothelial Cell populations that have not been previously reported. Such profiles provide a means of non-invasively characterising between the cell types and give an indication that impedance spectroscopic techniques may enable the non-invasive characterisation of the arterial response to stent placement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0206758
Number of pages17
JournalPLOS One
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2018


  • stent
  • coronary artery narrowing
  • re-endothelialisation
  • in-vitro impedance spectroscopy


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