One of the major obstacles in engineering thick, complex tissues such as muscle is the need to vascularize the tissue in vitro. Vascularization in vitro could maintain cell viability during tissue growth, induce structural organization and promote vascularization upon implantation. Here we describe the induction of endothelial vessel networks in engineered skeletal muscle tissue constructs using a three-dimensional multiculture system consisting of myoblasts, embryonic fibroblasts and endothelial cells coseeded on highly porous, biodegradable polymer scaffolds. Analysis of the conditions for induction and stabilization of the vessels in vitro showed that addition of embryonic fibroblasts increased the levels of vascular endothelial growth factor expression in the construct and promoted formation and stabilization of the endothelial vessels. We studied the survival and vascularization of the engineered muscle implants in vivo in three different models. Prevascularization improved the vascularization, blood perfusion and survival of the muscle tissue constructs after transplantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Molecular Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering