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The cardiovascular system is a key player in human physiology, providing nourishment to most tissues in the body; vessels are present in different sizes, structures, phenotypes, and performance depending on each specific perfused tissue. The field of tissue engineering, which aims to repair or replace damaged or missing body tissues, relies on controlled angiogenesis to create a proper vascularization within the engineered tissues. Without a vascular system, thick engineered constructs cannot be sufficiently nourished, which may result in cell death, poor engraftment, and ultimately failure. Thus, understanding and controlling the behavior of engineered blood vessels is an outstanding challenge in the field. This work presents a high-throughput system that allows for the creation of organized and repeatable vessel networks for studying vessel behavior in a 3D scaffold environment. This two-step seeding protocol shows that vessels within the system react to the scaffold topography, presenting distinctive sprouting behaviors depending on the compartment geometry in which the vessels reside. The obtained results and understanding from this high throughput system can be applied in order to inform better 3D bioprinted scaffold construct designs, wherein fabrication of various 3D geometries cannot be rapidly assessed when using 3D printing as the basis for cellularized biological environments. Furthermore, the understanding from this high throughput system may be utilized for the improvement of rapid drug screening, the rapid development of co-cultures models, and the investigation of mechanical stimuli on blood vessel formation to deepen the knowledge of the vascular system.


Ariel A Szklanny, Dylan B Neale, Joerg Lahann, Shulamit Levenberg. Stepwise Cell Seeding on Tessellated Scaffolds to Study Sprouting Blood Vessels. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 2021 Jan 14(167)

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PMID: 33522507

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