Microfluidic vascular-bed devices for vascularized 3D tissue engineering: tissue engineering on a chip

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In this report, we describe a microfluidic vascular-bed (micro-VB) device providing a platform for 3D tissue engineering with vascular network formation. The micro-VB device allows functional connections between endothelial capillaries of heterogeneous sections (5–100 μm in diameter) and artificial plastic tubes or reservoirs (1–10 mm in diameter). Moreover, the micro-VB device can be installed in a standard 100 mm-diameter Petri dish. Endothelial networks in 3D engineered tissues were obtained by cellular self-assembly on the device, after co-culturing of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and normal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDFs) in fibrin gel. Endothelial capillary connection between vascularized tissues and microfluidic channels, mimicking arteries and veins, was confirmed by perfusion of fluorescent microspheres. The micro-VB devices were compatible with the use of commercially available culture dishes and did not require the involvement of additional equipment. Thus, these micro-VB devices are expected to substantially improve the routine application of 3D tissue engineering to regenerative medicine.

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This research was supported by funding from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) through the Funding Program for World-Leading Innovative R&D on Science and Technology (FIRST Program), initiated by the Council for Science and Technology Policy (CSTP).

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Correspondence to Hiroaki Takehara or Tatsuya Shimizu.

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Takehara, H., Sakaguchi, K., Sekine, H. et al. Microfluidic vascular-bed devices for vascularized 3D tissue engineering: tissue engineering on a chip. Biomed Microdevices 22, 9 (2020).

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  • Vascularization
  • Endothelial cells
  • Artificial vessels
  • Petri dish
  • Drug screening
  • Regenerative medicine