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Biomaterials. 2012 Jul;33(21):5325-32. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.04.004. Epub 2012 Apr 22.

The integration of 3-D cell printing and mesoscopic fluorescence molecular tomography of vascular constructs within thick hydrogel scaffolds.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA.


Developing methods that provide adequate vascular perfusion is an important step toward engineering large functional tissues. Meanwhile, an imaging modality to assess the three-dimensional (3-D) structures and functions of the vascular channels is lacking for thick matrices (>2 ≈ 3 mm). Herein, we report on an original approach to construct and image 3-D dynamically perfused vascular structures in thick hydrogel scaffolds. In this work, we integrated a robotic 3-D cell printing technology with a mesoscopic fluorescence molecular tomography imaging system, and demonstrated the capability of the platform to construct perfused collagen scaffolds with endothelial lining and to image both the fluid flow and fluorescent-labeled living endothelial cells at high-frame rates, with high sensitivity and accuracy. These results establish the potential of integrating both 3-D cell printing and fluorescence mesoscopic imaging for functional and molecular studies in complex tissue-engineered tissues.

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