BACKGROUNDThe success of synthetic grafts for vascular reconstruction remains limited by thrombosis and intimal hyperplasia. In addition to the well-described antithrombotic effects of thrombomodulin, we have demonstrated that recombinant human thrombomodulin (rTM) inhibits arterial smooth muscle cell proliferation induced by thrombin. This study investigated the binding of functional rTM to expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE).METHODSImmobilization of rTM was achieved by either (1) a direct coating or (2) a two-step binding process using a water-soluble condensing cross-reaction agent EDAC to modify the ePTFE surface followed by binding of rTM. The samples were then subjected to a tangential shaken wash. The evidence of bound rTM was evaluated by both morphologic and functional studies.RESULTSSEM, BSI, and X-ray microanalysis identified that the two-step binding method resulted in significantly greater binding of rTM molecules to ePTFE pre- and post a 7-h wash than the direct coating method. With the two-step binding method rTM ranging from 0.25 to 12.5 microg immobilized to ePTFE-activated protein C (APC) in a concentration-dependent manner by more than 6000-fold compared to the buffer control (P < 0.04) and 50-85% more than direct coating (P < 0.004). With direct coating, the level of APC dropped significantly to near 40% of the preshaken level at 2 h and diminished to 26% at 7 h. Whereas, the level of APC with the two-step binding stabilized at 51 and 49% after being shaken 2 and 7 h, respectively.CONCLUSIONFunctional rTM binding to ePTFE was significantly improved with a new two-step binding method.