Biofabrication of miniaturised, patient-specific hydrogel vessels

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ICE Krakow

ICE Krakow

ul. Marii Konopnickiej 17 30-302 Kraków


Amaya Catano, Jorge Alberto (Queensland university of technology )


Globally, approximately thirty-one percent of worldwide deaths are caused by cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Most CVDs are usually a late-stage clinical manifestation of atherosclerosis, which has been shown to be dependent on the complex interactions between various physical and biological factors of a blood vessel in a patient-specific manner. These factors include the anatomy of the arteries, which dictate haemodynamic flows that interact with the vessel endothelium to develop inflammation and lipid accumulation. Vascular models are widely used to study atherosclerosis and test the efficacy of CVD treatment modalities. However, current vascular models developed to date can only either recapitulate the physical (i.e., geometry and haemodynamic) or biological (i.e., endothelium) environments of an artery. Therefore, there is a disconnection in the understanding of how physical factors interrelate to the biological responses of a blood vessel.

The present study aims to combine additive manufacturing and microfluidic organs-on-chip technologies to create a patient-specific vessel model that is capable of supporting the perfusion culture of vascular cells. This was achieved by reconstructing patient-specific arterial anatomies from phase-contrast MRI images and scaling down both anatomical geometries and haemodynamic information to a 1:4 model in order to facilitate perfused cell cultures. Next, a hydrogel vessel replica was fabricated by 3D printing a Poly (ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) mould that was later impregnated with CaCl2 to trigger the self-assembly of alginate prepolymer which was perfused through the mould. The resultant hydrogel vessel constructs replicated specific vessel geometry and offer higher biocompatibility for cell culture than normal 3D printable materials. By integrating these structures with a physiological relevant flow, a vascular model that intends to include the homeostatic factors can be developed.


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