Tissue engineering. Part C, Methods

Upcyte® microvascular endothelial cells repopulate decellularized scaffold.

PMID 22799502


A general problem in tissue engineering is the poor and insufficient blood supply to guarantee tissue cell survival as well as physiological tissue function. To address this limitation, we have developed an in vitro vascularization model in which a decellularized porcine small bowl segment, representing a capillary network within a collagen matrix (biological vascularized scaffold [BioVaSc]), is reseeded with microvascular endothelial cells (mvECs). However, since the supply of mvECs is limited, in general, and as these cells rapidly dedifferentiate, we have applied a novel technology, which allows the generation of large batches of quasi-primary cells with the ability to proliferate, whilst maintaining their differentiated functionality. These so called upcyte mvECs grew for an additional 15 population doublings (PDs) compared to primary cells. Upcyte mvECs retained endothelial characteristics, such as von Willebrandt Factor (vWF), CD31 and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression, as well as positive Ulex europaeus agglutinin I staining. Upcyte mvECs also retained biological functionality such as tube formation, cell migration, and low density lipoprotein (LDL) uptake, which were still evident after PD27. Initial experiments using MTT and Live/Dead staining indicate that upcyte mvECs repopulate the BioVaSc Scaffold. As with conventional cultures, these cells also express key endothelial molecules (vWF, CD31, and eNOS) in a custom-made bioreactor system even after a prolonged period of 14 days. The combination of upcyte mvECs and the BioVaSc represents a novel and promising approach toward vascularizing bioreactor models which can better reflect organs, such as the liver.

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19337 Lectin from Ulex europaeus-Atto 488 conjugate