Endothelial Cell Activation in an Embolic Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury Microfluidic Model

Micromachines (Basel). 2019 Dec 6;10(12):857. doi: 10.3390/mi10120857.


Ischemia, lack of blood supply, is associated with a variety of life-threatening cardiovascular diseases, including acute ischemic stroke and myocardial infraction. While blood flow restoration is critical to prevent further damage, paradoxically, rapid reperfusion can increase tissue damage. A variety of animal models have been developed to investigate ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI), however they do not fully recapitulate human physiology of IRI. Here, we present a microfluidic IRI model utilizing a vascular compartment comprising human endothelial cells, which can be obstructed via a human blood clot and then re-perfused via thrombolytic treatment. Using our model, a significant increase in the expression of the endothelial cell inflammatory surface receptors E-selectin and I-CAM1 was observed in response to embolic occlusion. Following the demonstration of clot lysis and reperfusion via treatment using a thrombolytic agent, a significant decrease in the number of adherent endothelial cells and an increase in I-CAM1 levels compared to embolic occluded models, where reperfusion was not established, was observed. Altogether, the presented model can be applied to allow better understanding of human embolic based IRI and potentially serve as a platform for the development of improved and new therapeutic approaches.

Keywords: endothelial cell activation; ischemia/reperfusion injury; organ-on-a-chip; thrombolysis.