Circumferential alignment of vascular smooth muscle cells in a circular microfluidic channel

Biomaterials. 2014 Jan;35(1):63-70. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.09.106. Epub 2013 Oct 10.


The circumferential alignment of human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs) in an orthogonally micropatterned circular microfluidic channel is reported to form an in vivo-like smooth muscle cell layer. To construct a biomimetic smooth muscle cell layer which is aligned perpendicular to the axis of blood vessel, a half-circular polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microchannel is first fabricated by soft lithography using a convex PDMS mold. Then, the orthogonally microwrinkle patterns are generated inside the half-circular microchannel by a strain responsive wrinkling method. During the UV treatment on a PDMS substrate with uniaxial 40% stretch and a subsequent strain releasing step, the microwrinkle patterns perpendicular to the axial direction of the circular microchannel are generated, which can guide the circumferential alignment of HASMCs during cultivation. The analysis of orientation angle, shape index, and contractile protein marker expression indicates that the cultured HASMCs reveal the in vivo-like cell phenotype. Finally, a fully circular microchannel is produced by bonding two half-circular microchannels, and the HASMCs are cultured circumferentially inside the channels with high alignment and viability for 5 days. These results demonstrated the creation of an in vivo-like 3D smooth muscle cell layer in the circular microfluidic channel which can provide a bioassay platforms for in-depth study of HASMC biology and vascular function.

Keywords: Circular microchannel; Circumferential alignment; Contractile protein marker; Microwrinkle; Smooth muscle cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Microfluidics / instrumentation*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology*


  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes
  • Genetic Markers
  • baysilon