Engineering of vascularized adipose constructs

Cell Tissue Res. 2012 Mar;347(3):747-57. doi: 10.1007/s00441-011-1226-2. Epub 2011 Aug 18.


Adipose tissue engineering offers a promising alternative to the current surgical techniques for the treatment of soft tissue defects. It is a challenge to find the appropriate scaffold that not only represents a suitable environment for cells but also allows fabrication of customized tissue constructs, particularly in breast surgery. We investigated two different scaffolds for their potential use in adipose tissue regeneration. Sponge-like polyurethane scaffolds were prepared by mold casting with methylal as foaming agent, whereas polycaprolactone scaffolds with highly regular stacked-fiber architecture were fabricated with fused deposition modeling. Both scaffold types were seeded with human adipose tissue-derived precursor cells, cultured and implanted in nude mice using a femoral arteriovenous flow-through vessel loop for angiogenesis. In vitro, cells attached to both scaffolds and differentiated into adipocytes. In vivo, angiogenesis and adipose tissue formation were observed throughout both constructs after 2 and 4 weeks, with angiogenesis being comparable in seeded and unseeded constructs. Fibrous tissue formation and adipogenesis were more pronounced on polyurethane foam scaffolds than on polycaprolactone prototyped scaffolds. In conclusion, both scaffold designs can be effectively used for adipose tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / blood supply*
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Compressive Strength / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Implants, Experimental
  • Materials Testing
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic* / drug effects
  • Polyesters / pharmacology
  • Polyurethanes / pharmacology
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Tissue Culture Techniques
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Polyesters
  • Polyurethanes
  • polycaprolactone