Improving lab grown tissue models with complex vessel networks
Animal models are vital for biomedical research. But efforts are underway to reduce our dependency on them using lab-grown tissues called organoids. However, organoids are often small and mature slowly as they lack the dense network of blood vessels needed for efficient tissue growth, without which cells die. Researchers now use microfluidic technology to 3D-print artificial networks of tiny vessels onto which neural tissue made from human stem cells were grown. Fluorescence microscopy of these organoids (pictured) revealed much lower levels of a marker for cell death (green) in organoids grown on artificial vessels perfused with nutritional liquid (right) compared with organoids grown on unperfused artificial vessels (middle) or without vessels at all (left). They also found organoids grown on perfused vessels developed complex structures, persisted for weeks and matured into neural tissue (red, white). This artificial blood vessel system can therefore produce larger, more complex human tissues for research.
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