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Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2015 May;21(5):509-17. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2014.0258. Epub 2015 Feb 18.

Patterning vascular networks in vivo for tissue engineering applications.

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1 Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


The ultimate design of functionally therapeutic engineered tissues and organs will rely on our ability to engineer vasculature that can meet tissue-specific metabolic needs. We recently introduced an approach for patterning the formation of functional spatially organized vascular architectures within engineered tissues in vivo. Here, we now explore the design parameters of this approach and how they impact the vascularization of an engineered tissue construct after implantation. We used micropatterning techniques to organize endothelial cells (ECs) into geometrically defined "cords," which in turn acted as a template after implantation for the guided formation of patterned capillaries integrated with the host tissue. We demonstrated that the diameter of the cords before implantation impacts the location and density of the resultant capillary network. Inclusion of mural cells to the vascularization response appears primarily to impact the dynamics of vascularization. We established that clinically relevant endothelial sources such as induced pluripotent stem cell-derived ECs and human microvascular endothelial cells can drive vascularization within this system. Finally, we demonstrated the ability to control the juxtaposition of parenchyma with perfused vasculature by implanting cords containing a mixture of both a parenchymal cell type (hepatocytes) and ECs. These findings define important characteristics that will ultimately impact the design of vasculature structures that meet tissue-specific needs.

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