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Biomedical microdevices

Rapid homogeneous endothelialization of high aspect ratio microvascular networks.


PMID 26227213

Abstract

Microvascularization of an engineered tissue construct is necessary to ensure the nourishment and viability of the hosted cells. Microvascular constructs can be created by seeding the luminal surfaces of microfluidic channel arrays with endothelial cells. However, in a conventional flow-based system, the uniformity of endothelialization of such an engineered microvascular network is constrained by mass transfer of the cells through high length-to-diameter (L/D) aspect ratio microchannels. Moreover, given the inherent limitations of the initial seeding process to generate a uniform cell coating, the large surface-area-to-volume ratio of microfluidic systems demands long culture periods for the formation of confluent cellular microconduits. In this report, we describe the design of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS) microvascular constructs with reentrant microchannels that facilitates rapid, spatially homogeneous endothelial cell seeding of a high L/D (2 cm/35 μm; > 550:1) aspect ratio microchannels. MEMS technology was employed for the fabrication of a monolithic, elastomeric, reentrant microvascular construct. Isotropic etching and PDMS micromolding yielded a near-cylindrical microvascular channel array. A 'stretch - seed - seal' operation was implemented for uniform incorporation of endothelial cells along the entire microvascular area of the construct yielding endothelialized microvascular networks in less than 24 h. The feasibility of this endothelialization strategy and the uniformity of cellularization were established using confocal microscope imaging.

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