Vascularised human tissue models: A new approach for the refinement of biomedical research
Tissue engineering represents a biology driven approach by which bioartificial tissues are engineered through combining material technology and biotechnology. In order to ensure the functionality of in vitro cultured cells, culture conditions simulating the natural microenvironment must be created. Therefore (1) sufficient nutrient supply of the cells, (2) co-culture of different cell types, (3) suitable carrier structures (scaffolds) and (4) advanced bioreactor technologies are needed. Bioreactors constitute and maintain physiological tissue conditions at desired levels, enhance mass transport rates and expose cultured cells to specific stimuli. It has been shown that bioreactor technologies providing appropriate biochemical and physiological regulatory signals guide cell and tissue differentiation and influence tissue specific function of bioartificial three-dimensional (3D) tissues. In addition, to safeguard sufficient nutrient supply of complex 3D-bioartificial tissue models, we developed the biological vascularised scaffold (BioVaSc®). The BioVaSc is generated from a decellularized porcine small bowl segment with preserved tubular structures of the capillary network within the collagen matrix. It is the prerequisite for the generation of bioartificial tissues endued with a functional artificial vascular network and has been realized in artificial human liver-, intestine-, trachea- and skin-models. These various human tissue models represent a new technology as alternative to animal experiments for pharmacokinetic (drug penetration, distribution and metabolisation) and pharmacodynamic studies.
Journal: Journal of Biotechnology - Volume 148, Issue 1, 1 July 2010, Pages 56–63