Engineering of capillary-like structures in tissue constructs by electrochemical detachment of cells
A major challenge in the development of functional thick tissues is the formation of vascular networks for oxygen and nutrient supply throughout the engineered tissue constructs. This study describes an electrochemical approach for fabrication of capillary-like structures, precisely aligned within micrometer distances, whose internal surfaces are covered with vascular endothelial cells. In this approach, an oligopeptide containing a cell adhesion domain (RGD) in the center and cysteine residues at both ends was designed. Cysteine has a thiol group that adsorbs onto a gold surface via a gold–thiolate bond. The cells attached to the gold surface via the oligopeptide were readily and noninvasively detached by applying a negative electrical potential and cleaving the gold–thiolate bond. This approach was applicable not only for a flat surface but also for various configurations, including cylindrical structures. By applying this approach to thin gold rods aligned in a spatially controlled manner in a perfusion culture device, human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were transferred onto the internal surface of capillary structures in collagen gel. In the subsequent perfusion culture, the HUVECs grew into the collagen gel and formed luminal structures, thereby forming vascular networks in vitro.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 31, Issue 8, March 2010, Pages 2209–2215