Formation of three-dimensional tubular endothelial cell networks under defined serum-free cell culture conditions in human collagen hydrogels.

Andrée B, Ichanti H, Kalies S, Heisterkamp A, Strauß S, Vogt PM, Haverich A, Hilfiker A
Source: Scientific Reports
Publication Date: (2019)
Issue: :
Research Area:
Cells used in publication:
Endothelial, umbilical vein, human (HUVEC)
Species: human
Tissue Origin: vein


Implementation of tubular endothelial cell networks is a prerequisite for 3D tissue engineering of constructs with clinically relevant size as nourishment of cells is challenged by the diffusion limit. In vitro generation of 3D networks is often achieved under conditions using serum containing cell culture medium and/or animal derived matrices. Here, 3D endothelial cell networks were generated by using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in combination with human adipose tissue derived stromal cells (hASCs) employing human collagen I as hydrogel and decellularized porcine small intestinal submucosa as starter matrix. Matrigel/rat tail collagen I hydrogel was used as control. Resulting constructs were cultivated either in serum-free medium or in endothelial growth medium-2 serving as control. Endothelial cell networks were quantified, tested for lumen formation, and interaction of HUVECs and hASCs. Tube diameter was slightly larger in constructs containing human collagen I compared to Matrigel/rat tail collagen I constructs under serum-free conditions. All other network parameters were mostly similar. Thereby, the feasibility of generating 3D endothelial cell networks under serum-free culture conditions in human collagen I as hydrogel was demonstrated. In summary, the presented achievements pave the way for the generation of clinical applicable constructs.