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Biomaterials. 2013 Dec;34(38):10007-15. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.09.039. Epub 2013 Sep 27.

A biodegradable microvessel scaffold as a framework to enable vascular support of engineered tissues.

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Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


A biodegradable microvessel scaffold comprised of distinct parenchymal and vascular compartments separated by a permeable membrane interface was conceptualized, fabricated, cellularized, and implanted. The device was designed with perfusable microfluidic channels on the order of 100 μm to mimic small blood vessels, and high interfacial area to an adjacent parenchymal space to enable transport between the compartments. Poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS) elastomer was used to construct the microvessel framework, and various assembly methods were evaluated to ensure robust mechanical integrity. In vitro studies demonstrated the differentiation of human skeletal muscle cells cultured in the parenchymal space, a 90% reduction in muscle cell viability due to trans-membrane transport of a myotoxic drug from the perfusate, and microvessel seeding with human endothelial cells. In vivo studies of scaffolds implanted subcutaneously and intraperitoneally, without or with exogenous cells, into nude rats demonstrated biodegradation of the membrane interface and host blood cell infiltration of the microvessels. This modular, implantable scaffold could serve as a basis for building tissue constructs of increasing scale and clinical relevance.


Microfabrication; Poly(glycerol sebacate); Scaffold; Skeletal muscle cells; Tissue engineering; Vascularization

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