(206g) Concurrent Blood And Lymphatic Tissue Engineering

Swartz, M. A., Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)
Yong, C., Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Blood and lymphatic vessels are structurally distinct yet serve complementary functions in maintaining tissue homeostasis. In tissue engineering where the goal is implantation into humans, in many cases it would be desirable to create both types of vessels concurrently in vitro. We have previously shown that in vitro blood and lymphatic morphogenesis is different, both with respect to the extracellular matrix that is optimal for each as well as the vessel morphologies. Here we develop design principles for creating blood and lymphatic capillary networks concurrently in vitro. We also compare their morphogenetic gene expression and organizational responses both individually and in mixed 3-D cultures with imposed slow interstitial flow in a 3-D culture chamber. Furthermore, we show how each cell type enhances the organization of the other, such that more extensive blood and lymphatic capillary networks result when the two are incurred together as opposed to each alone. These studies provide insight into the molecular mechanisms orchestrating endothelial cell morphogenesis by exploring the differences and crosstalk between blood and lymphatic microvascular development, both in the context of physiologically relevant biophysical forces. It also provides design variables for engineering concurrent blood and lymphatic capillary networks.