Bioengineers create stable networks of blood vessels

Feb 28, 2006
Bioengineers create stable networks of blood vessels
PNAS Cover, February 2006

Yale biomedical engineers have created an implantable system that can form and stabilize a functional network of fine blood vessels critical for supporting tissues in the body, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For body tissue to survive it must receive oxygen delivered through the finest of blood vessels. Led by Erin Lavik, assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering, this study shows that the fine network of blood vessels can be formed. Further, detailed microscopic studies showed that the vascular networks were stable as implants for up to six weeks and were able to connect with larger blood vessel structures.

"This expands our understanding of the neuro-vascular niche and opens up ways to address repair of severed nerves," said Joseph Madri professor of pathology at Yale School of Medicine and a co-author. "We can now study what affects the attraction and repulsion of nerve growth and drug delivery in a model system that can be used in vitro and in vivo."

The researchers used two important engineering enhancements to develop stable functional microcirculation. First, they created a "micro-scaffold" of a macroporous hydrogel polymer. The hydrogel is a three-dimensional, sponge-like material -- highly water-saturable, with a structure of connected pores for cells to grow on and through.

Second, they seeded the hydrogel scaffolds with endothelial cells that make up blood vessel structure along with nerve progenitor cells from the brain. Because there is often an association of nerve connections with vascular networks, they tested to see if a combination of the blood vessel-forming and nerve-forming cells would enhance development of the vascular networks.

"By their nature, hydrogels are well suited for the transport of soluble factors, nutrients or drugs, and waste," said Lavik. "The hydrogel scaffold materials are generally highly biocompatible and safe to implant due to the presence of large volumes of water."

Source: Yale University

Explore further: New study of freelance workers examines link between their well-being and hours worked

Related Stories

Protein mimic shows promise as tissue engineering glue

Mar 16, 2015

Researchers have demonstrated the potential of a "synthetic protein mimic" to promote the adhesion of brain cells in a laboratory setting. This feat could help overcome a major challenge in nerve tissue engineering.

New nanogel for drug delivery

Feb 19, 2015

Scientists are interested in using gels to deliver drugs because they can be molded into specific shapes and designed to release their payload over a specified time period. However, current versions aren't ...

Nanoengineers can print 3D microstructures in mere seconds

Sep 13, 2012

(Phys.org)—Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a novel technology that can fabricate, in mere seconds, microscale three dimensional (3D) structures out of soft, biocompatible ...

Nanoparticles harvest invisible cancer biomarkers

Nov 22, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cancer biologists have long presumed that tumor cells shed telltale markers into the blood and that finding these blood-borne biomarkers could provide an early indicator that cancer is developing somewhere ...

Recommended for you

Do government technology investments pay off?

16 hours ago

Studies confirm that IT investments in companies improve productivity and efficiency. University of Michigan professor M.S. Krishnan wondered if the same was true for government.

Study finds assisted housing works, but it could be improved

16 hours ago

Two researchers from the University of Kansas Department of Urban Planning have just completed a study on the locations of assisted housing units and assisted households across the nation. It examines one of the key issues ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.