Fusion of uniluminal vascular spheroids: A model for assembly of blood vessels

Authors

  • Paul A. Fleming,

    1. Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina
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  • W. Scott Argraves,

    1. Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina
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  • Carmine Gentile,

    1. Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina
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  • Adrian Neagu,

    1. Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania
    2. Department of Physics and Biology, University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri
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  • Gabor Forgacs,

    1. Department of Physics and Biology, University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri
    2. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri
    3. Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri
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  • Christopher J. Drake

    Corresponding author
    1. Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina
    • Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Charleston, SC 29425
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Abstract

We evaluated the self-assembly properties of uniluminal vascular spheroids having outer layers of vascular smooth muscle cells and a contiguous inner layer of endothelial cells lining a central lumen. We showed that while pairs of uniluminal vascular spheroids suspended in culture medium fused to form a larger diameter spheroidal structure, spheroids in collagen hydrogels formed elongated structures. These findings highlight the potential use of uniluminal vascular spheroids as modules to engineer blood vessels. We also demonstrate that uniluminal vascular spheroid fusion conforms to models describing the coalescence of liquid drops. Furthermore, the fusion of uniluminal vascular spheroids in vitro closely resembled the in vivo process by which the descending aorta forms from the fusion of the paired dorsal aortae during embryonic development. Together, the findings indicate that tissue liquidity underlies uniluminal vascular spheroid fusion and that in vivo anastomosis of blood vessels may involve a similar mechanism. Developmental Dynamics 239:398–406, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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