To create functional tissues having complex structures, bottom-up approaches to assembling small tissue modules into larger constructs have been emerging. Most of these approaches are based on chemical reactions or physical interactions at the interface between tissue modules. Here we report a biological assembly approach to integrate small tissue modules through endothelial capillary network formation. When adjacent tissue modules contain appropriate extracellular matrix materials and cell types that support robust endothelial capillary network formation, capillary tubules form and grow across the interface, resulting in assembly of the modules into a single, larger construct. It was shown that capillary networks formed in modules of dense fibrin gels seeded with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); adjacent modules were firmly assembled into an integrated construct having a strain to failure of 117 ± 26%, a tensile strength of 2208 ± 83 Pa and a Young's modulus of 2548 ± 574 Pa. Under the same culture conditions, capillary networks were absent in modules of dense fibrin gels seeded with either HUVECs or MSCs alone; adjacent modules disconnected even when handled gently. This biological assembly approach eliminates the need for chemical reactions or physical interactions and their associated limitations. In addition, the integrated constructs are prevascularized, and therefore this bottom-up assembly approach may also help address the issue of vascularization, another key challenge in tissue engineering.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2015|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- Bottom-up assembly
- Capillary networks
- Endothelial cells
- Mesenchymal stem cells
- Modular tissue engineering