"Do-it-yourself in vitro vasculature that recapitulates in vivo geometries for investigating endothelial-blood cell interactions"

Sci Rep. 2015 Jul 23:5:12401. doi: 10.1038/srep12401.


Investigating biophysical cellular interactions in the circulation currently requires choosing between in vivo models, which are difficult to interpret due in part to the hemodynamic and geometric complexities of the vasculature; or in vitro systems, which suffer from non-physiologic assumptions and/or require specialized microfabrication facilities and expertise. To bridge that gap, we developed an in vitro "do-it-yourself" perfusable vasculature model that recapitulates in vivo geometries, such as aneurysms, stenoses, and bifurcations, and supports endothelial cell culture. These inexpensive, disposable devices can be created rapidly (<2 hours) with high precision and repeatability, using standard off-the-shelf laboratory supplies. Using these "endothelialized" systems, we demonstrate that spatial variation in vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM-1) expression correlates with the wall shear stress patterns of vascular geometries. We further observe that the presence of endothelial cells in stenoses reduces platelet adhesion but increases sickle cell disease (SCD) red blood cell (RBC) adhesion in bifurcations. Overall, our method enables researchers from all disciplines to study cellular interactions in physiologically relevant, yet simple-to-make, in vitro vasculature models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomimetics / instrumentation*
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology*
  • Blood Vessels / cytology
  • Blood Vessels / physiology*
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Erythrocytes / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices*