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Biomaterials. 2018 Oct;180:117-129. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.07.014. Epub 2018 Jul 12.

3D self-organized microvascular model of the human blood-brain barrier with endothelial cells, pericytes and astrocytes.

Author information

1
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Turin, Italy; Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 500 Technology Square, MIT Building, Room NE47-321, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 500 Technology Square, MIT Building, Room NE47-321, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.
3
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Turin, Italy.
4
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 500 Technology Square, MIT Building, Room NE47-321, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA; Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 500 Technology Square, MIT Building, Room NE47-321, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA; Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research&Technology (SMART), BioSytems and Micromechanics (BioSyM), Singapore, Singapore. Electronic address: rdkamm@mit.edu.

Abstract

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) regulates molecular trafficking, protects against pathogens, and prevents efficient drug delivery to the brain. Models to date failed to reproduce the human anatomical complexity of brain barriers, contributing to misleading results in clinical trials. To overcome these limitations, a novel 3-dimensional BBB microvascular network model was developed via vasculogenesis to accurately replicate the in vivo neurovascular organization. This microfluidic system includes human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells, brain pericytes, and astrocytes as self-assembled vascular networks in fibrin gel. Gene expression of membrane transporters, tight junction and extracellular matrix proteins, was consistent with computational analysis of geometrical structures and quantitative immunocytochemistry, indicating BBB maturation and microenvironment remodelling. Confocal microscopy validated microvessel-pericyte/astrocyte dynamic contact-interactions. The BBB model exhibited perfusable and selective microvasculature, with permeability lower than conventional in vitro models, and similar to in vivo measurements in rat brain. This robust and physiologically relevant BBB microvascular model offers an innovative and valuable platform for drug discovery to predict neuro-therapeutic transport efficacy in pre-clinical applications as well as recapitulate patient-specific and pathological neurovascular functions in neurodegenerative disease.

KEYWORDS:

Drug delivery test platform; Human blood-brain barrier; Induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells; In vitro modeling; Microfluidic device; Self-assembled microvascular network

PMID:
30032046
PMCID:
PMC6201194
[Available on 2019-10-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.07.014
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