Cyclic Stretch and Perfusion Bioreactor for Conditioning Large Diameter Engineered Tissue Tubes

Jillian B. Schmidt, Robert T. Tranquillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A cyclic stretch and perfusion bioreactor was designed to culture large diameter engineered tissue tubes for heart valve applications. In this bioreactor, tubular tissues consisting of dermal fibroblasts in a sacrificial fibrin gel scaffold were placed over porated latex support sleeves and mounted in a custom bioreactor. Pulsatile flow of culture medium into the system resulted in cyclic stretching as well as ablumenal, lumenal, and transmural flow (perfusion). In this study, lumenal remodeling, composition, and mechanical strength and stiffness were compared for tissues cyclically stretched in this bioreactor on either the porated latex sleeves or solid latex sleeves, which did not permit lumenal or transmural flow. Tissues cyclically stretched on porated sleeves had regions of increased lumenal remodeling and cellularity that were localized to the columns of pores in the latex sleeve. A CFD model was developed with COMSOL Multiphysics® to predict flow of culture medium in and around the tissue, and the predictions suggest that the enhanced lumenal remodeling was likely a result of elevated shear stresses and transmural velocity in these regions. This work highlights the beneficial effects of increased nutrient transport and flow stimulation for accelerating in vitro tissue remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1785-1797
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Alex Weston, Naomi Ferguson, Sandra Johnson, Susan Saunders, Jay Reimer, and Zeeshan Syedain for technical assistance and the University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute for computing resources. This study was funded by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (J.B.S.) and NIH R01 HL107572 (R.T.T.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Biomedical Engineering Society.


  • COMSOL Multiphysics
  • Fibrin
  • Tissue-engineered heart valve
  • Transmural flow


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