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Artificial lymphatic drainage systems for vascularized microfluidic scaffolds


  • How to cite this article: Wong KHK, Truslow JG, Khankhel AH, Chan KLS, Tien J. 2013. Artificial lymphatic drainage systems for vascularized microfluidic scaffolds. J Biomed Mater Res Part A 2013:101A:2181–2190.


The formation of a stably perfused microvasculature continues to be a major challenge in tissue engineering. Previous work has suggested the importance of a sufficiently large transmural pressure in maintaining vascular stability and perfusion. Here we show that a system of empty channels that provides a drainage function analogous to that of lymphatic microvasculature in vivo can stabilize vascular adhesion and maintain perfusion rate in dense, hydraulically resistive fibrin scaffolds in vitro. In the absence of drainage, endothelial delamination increased as scaffold density increased from 6 to 30 mg/mL and scaffold hydraulic conductivity decreased by a factor of 20. Single drainage channels exerted only localized vascular stabilization, the extent of which depended on the distance between vessel and drainage as well as scaffold density. Computational modeling of these experiments yielded an estimate of 0.40–1.36 cm H2O for the minimum transmural pressure required for vascular stability. We further designed and constructed fibrin patches (0.8 × 0.9 cm2) that were perfused by a parallel array of vessels and drained by an orthogonal array of drainage channels; only with the drainage did the vessels display long-term stability and perfusion. This work underscores the importance of drainage in vascularization, especially when a dense, hydraulically resistive scaffold is used. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A, 2013.