Multivascular networks and functional intravascular topologies within biocompatible hydrogels

Science. 2019 May 3;364(6439):458-464. doi: 10.1126/science.aav9750.


Solid organs transport fluids through distinct vascular networks that are biophysically and biochemically entangled, creating complex three-dimensional (3D) transport regimes that have remained difficult to produce and study. We establish intravascular and multivascular design freedoms with photopolymerizable hydrogels by using food dye additives as biocompatible yet potent photoabsorbers for projection stereolithography. We demonstrate monolithic transparent hydrogels, produced in minutes, comprising efficient intravascular 3D fluid mixers and functional bicuspid valves. We further elaborate entangled vascular networks from space-filling mathematical topologies and explore the oxygenation and flow of human red blood cells during tidal ventilation and distension of a proximate airway. In addition, we deploy structured biodegradable hydrogel carriers in a rodent model of chronic liver injury to highlight the potential translational utility of this materials innovation.

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

  • Absorption, Physicochemical
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Biomimetic Materials / chemistry*
  • Blood Vessels*
  • Coloring Agents / chemistry
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry*
  • Light
  • Liver
  • Lung Injury / therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Polymerization / radiation effects
  • Stereolithography


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Coloring Agents
  • Hydrogels