Journal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine

Microstructured human fibroblast-derived extracellular matrix scaffold for vascular media fabrication.

PMID 27125623


In the clinical and pharmacological fields, there is a need for the production of tissue-engineered small-diameter blood vessels. We have demonstrated previously that the extracellular matrix (ECM) produced by fibroblasts can be used as a scaffold to support three-dimensional (3D) growth of another cell type. Thus, a resistant tissue-engineered vascular media can be produced when such scaffolds are used to culture smooth muscle cells (SMCs). The present study was designed to develop an anisotropic fibroblastic ECM sheet that could replicate the physiological architecture of blood vessels after being assembled into a small diameter vascular conduit. Anisotropic ECM scaffolds were produced using human dermal fibroblasts, grown on a microfabricated substrate with a specific topography, which led to cell alignment and unidirectional ECM assembly. Following their devitalization, the scaffolds were seeded with SMCs. These cells elongated and migrated in a single direction, following a specific angle relative to the direction of the aligned fibroblastic ECM. Their resultant ECM stained for collagen I and III and elastin, and the cells expressed SMC differentiation markers. Seven days after SMCs seeding, the sheets were rolled around a mandrel to form a tissue-engineered vascular media. The resulting anisotropic ECM and cell alignment induced an increase in the mechanical strength and vascular reactivity in the circumferential direction as compared to unaligned constructs. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.