21-0065 Microfluidic Device Modeling Human Vasculature

  • Model blood vasculature and hollow tissue structures (ducts and vessels) under flow conditions.
  • Due to small size of device, only low cell numbers and reagent volumes are needed.
  • Amenable to high-throughput manufacturing and use with standard laboratory equipment.

Abstract

Background

Investigating the molecular mechanisms that regulate human vascular and other cellular barrier functions is complicated by the lack of experimental systems that enable precise control of the mechanical and chemical endothelial microenvironments. In vivo, the ability to modulate blood pressures and flows is limited, and the mechanical effects of blood flow cannot be decoupled from changes in nutrient exchange. In vitro, despite the increased development of microfluidic vascular platforms, standard commercial assays that enable investigation of endothelial cells under flow require culturing of cells on flat, stiff substrates, which influences cell–matrix and cell–cell signaling pathways. To better understand the mechanisms governing barrier function that underlie disease states, there is a need for development of platforms that enable culture of endothelial cells in a physiologically relevant conditions with appropriate stromal cells and precise control over blood flow.

Technology Overview
Researchers in the Department of Biomedical Engineering have developed a microfluidic device to model human vasculature and hollow tissue structures (ex. ducts, vessels, etc.). The device consists of polymer housing with alignment features to allow generation of hollow tubes in hydrogels and biomaterials. The devices are small, requiring low cell numbers and reagent volumes, and can interface with standard laboratory equipment. Several assays can be run using the devices under flow or static conditions including, vessel and duct permeability, solute transport, cell adhesion, angiogenesis, and hemostasis. Permeability can be measured by fluorescent molecule tracking or electrical resistance with the devices. Fabrication can be achieved through high- or low-throughput protocols, including photolithography, injection molding (e.g., monolithic or multipart), hot embossing, replica molding of patterned substrates, or additive manufacturing.

Mga kalamangan

  • Model blood vasculature and hollow tissue structures (ducts and vessels).
  • Due to small size of device, only low cell numbers and reagent volumes are needed.
  • Amenable to high-throughput manufacturing and use with standard laboratory equipment.
  • Precise control over mechanical and chemical endothelial environments
  • Modulation of blood vessel inlet and outlet pressures, lymphatic inlet and outlet pressures, and interstitial pressure
  • Applicable to various types of research involving complex 3D flow
  • Efficient fabrication using a variety of fabrication protocols

Mga Potensyal na Aplikasyon

A number of disease states can be studied using the devices including, vascular health ,COVID-19, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and cancer. Additionally, the devices can be used in drug development studies for drug screening, PK/PD studies, and in patient screening for clinical trials.

Impormasyon sa Pakikipag-ugnayan

Pangalan: Matthew Howe

Email: matthew.howe@unc.edu

Telepono: 919.966.3929