Development of a Human Blood Vessel In Vitro Using Polydimethylsiloxane Mold
Veronica Burnett1, Sneha Chittabathini1, Steven Krim1, Bonnie Mendelson2, Jacob Abulencia3, Gurtej Singh1, Miriam Rafailovich1, Alexander Dagum1, Gurkirat Singh1
1Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794
2Yeshiva University High School for Girls, Holliswood, NY 11423
3Half Hollow Hills High School West, Dix Hills, NY 11746
In the field of tissue engineering, customizability has become a growing concern for organ transplants. Blood vessels are a common need for organ donor recipients because of the frequency of coronary artery bypass surgery as well as thrombosis or poor blood flow. A supply of human blood vessels within a hospital would reduce and possibly eliminate the need for human donors, not to mention the specifications could more closely match those of the patient receiving them. Previous tissue engineering research has shown that blood vessels made entirely of tissue are more likely to burst and degrade.Our research aims to create a stronger and more permanent blood vessel that not only prevents against bursts in the lining, but also prevents against platelet clotting.
This project had two parts: designing a polymer scaffold and testing the adhesion and biocompatibility of cells on this scaffold. We chose polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) for the scaffold material because of its ability for cells to adhere and grow on it as well as its ease of molding. We found the optimum ratio of base to curing agent for gelling the PDMS was 10:1 for strength in material as well as flexibility, both of which were tested using a rheometer. The shape of the scaffold was created using a Teflon™ mold that we mechanically engineered for the correct dimensions of a typical human blood vessel (6 mm I.D.).
Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were first plated on a flat, circular mold of PDMS and were found to adhere and grow to the surface. After testing if cells were able to grow directly on the PDMS, we added fibrinogen to aid in cell adhesion. Fibrinogen attaches to the phobic surface of the PDMS, thus allowing for endothelialization and the formation of tight junctions. Whole plasma was later used to aid in the formation of tight junctions between cells, which is important for creating a strong network that can handle fluctuations in blood pressure.
Future work for this research includes plating on a curved surface of PDMS to observe how cells interact with it as well as testing for the formation of tight junctions. Other tests may include running a viscous fluid through a tube-shaped cell network to see how strong the network holds up to outward mechanical pressure at differing velocities.
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 Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network. [Accessed 2015 Sept. 20]. http://www.donorrecovery.org
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