skip to main content

Title: Multilayer microfluidic platform for the study of luminal, transmural, and interstitial flow

Efficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues requires an intricate balance of blood, lymphatic, and interstitial fluid pressures (IFPs), and gradients in fluid pressure drive the flow of blood, lymph, and interstitial fluid through tissues. While specific fluid mechanical stimuli, such as wall shear stress, have been shown to modulate cellular signaling pathways along with gene and protein expression patterns, an understanding of the key signals imparted by flowing fluid and how these signals are integrated across multiple cells and cell types in native tissues is incomplete due to limitations with current assays. Here, we introduce a multi-layer microfluidic platform (MμLTI-Flow) that enables the culture of engineered blood and lymphatic microvessels and independent control of blood, lymphatic, and IFPs. Using optical microscopy methods to measure fluid velocity for applied input pressures, we demonstrate varying rates of interstitial fluid flow as a function of blood, lymphatic, and interstitial pressure, consistent with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models. The resulting microfluidic and computational platforms will provide for analysis of key fluid mechanical parameters and cellular mechanisms that contribute to diseases in which fluid imbalances play a role in progression, including lymphedema and solid cancer.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
IOP Publishing
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Article No. 025007
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The knowledge of the blood microvasculature and its functional role in health and disease has grown significantly attributable to decades of research and numerous advances in cell biology and tissue engineering; however, the lymphatics (the secondary vascular system) has not garnered similar attention, in part due to a lack of relevant in vitro models that mimic its pathophysiological functions. Here, a microfluidic‐based approach is adopted to achieve precise control over the biological transport of growth factors and interstitial flow that drive the in vivo growth of lymphatic capillaries (lymphangiogenesis). The engineered on‐chip lymphatics with in vivo‐like morphology exhibit tissue‐scale functionality with drainage rates of interstitial proteins and molecules comparable to in vivo standards. Computational and scaling analyses of the underlying transport phenomena elucidate the critical role of the three‐dimensional geometry and lymphatic endothelium in recapitulating physiological drainage. Finally, the engineered on‐chip lymphatics enabled studies of lymphatic‐immune interactions that revealed inflammation‐driven responses by the lymphatics to recruit immune cells via chemotactic signals similar to in vivo, pathological events. This on‐chip lymphatics platform permits the interrogation of various lymphatic biological functions, as well as screening of lymphatic‐based therapies such as interstitial absorption of protein therapeutics and lymphatic immunomodulation for cancer therapy.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract Introduction

    Controlling the formation of blood and lymphatic vasculatures is crucial for engineered tissues. Although the lymphatic vessels originate from embryonic blood vessels, the two retain functional and physiological differences even as they develop in the vicinity of each other. This suggests that there is a previously unknown molecular mechanism by which blood (BECs) and lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) recognize each other and coordinate to generate distinct capillary networks.


    We utilized Matrigel and fibrin assays to determine how cord-like structures (CLS) can be controlled by altering LEC and BEC identity through podoplanin (PDPN) and folliculin (FLCN) expressions. We generated BECΔFLCNand LECΔPDPN, and observed cell migration to characterize loss lymphatic and blood characteristics due to respective knockouts.


    We observed that LECs and BECs form distinct CLS in Matrigel and fibrin gels despite being cultured in close proximity with each other. We confirmed that the LECs and BECs do not recognize each other through paracrine signaling, as proliferation and migration of both cells were unaffected by paracrine signals. On the other hand, we foundPDPNto be the key surface protein that is responsible for LEC-BEC recognition, and LECs lackingPDPNbecame pseudo-BECs and vice versa. We also found thatFLCNmaintains BEC identity through downregulation ofPDPN.


    Overall, these observations reveal a new molecular pathway through which LECs and BECs form distinct CLS through physical contact byPDPNwhich in turn is regulated byFLCN, which has important implications toward designing functional engineered tissues.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Secondary lymphedema is a life‐long disorder characterized by chronic tissue swelling and inflammation that obstruct interstitial fluid circulation and immune cell trafficking. Regenerating lymphatic vasculatures using various strategies represents a promising treatment for lymphedema. Growth factor injection and gene delivery have been developed to stimulate lymphangiogenesis and augment interstitial fluid resorption. Using bioengineered materials as growth factor delivery vehicles allows for a more precisely targeted lymphangiogenic activation within the injured site. The implantation of prevascularized lymphatic tissue also promotesin situlymphatic capillary network formation. The engineering of larger scale lymphatic tissues, including lymphatic collecting vessels and lymph nodes constructed by bioengineered scaffolds or decellularized animal tissues, offers alternatives to reconnecting damaged lymphatic vessels and restoring lymph circulation. These approaches provide lymphatic vascular grafting materials to reimpose lymphatic continuity across the site of injury, without creating secondary injuries at donor sites. The present work reviews molecular mechanisms mediating lymphatic system development, approaches to promoting lymphatic network regeneration, and strategies for engineering lymphatic tissues, including lymphatic capillaries, collecting vessels, and nodes. Challenges of advanced translational applications are also discussed.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Cardiovascular simulations are increasingly used for noninvasive diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, to guide treatment decisions, and in the design of medical devices. Quantitative assessment of the variability of simulation outputs due to input uncertainty is a key step toward further integration of cardiovascular simulations in the clinical workflow. In this study, we present uncertainty quantification in computational models of the coronary circulation to investigate the effect of uncertain parameters, including coronary pressure waveform, intramyocardial pressure, morphometry exponent, and the vascular wall Young's modulus. We employ a left coronary artery model with deformable vessel walls, simulated via an Arbitrary‐Lagrangian‐Eulerian framework for fluid‐structure interaction, with a prescribed inlet pressure and open‐loop lumped parameter network outlet boundary conditions. Stochastic modeling of the uncertain inputs is determined from intra‐coronary catheterization data or gathered from the literature. Uncertainty propagation is performed using several approaches including Monte Carlo, Quasi Monte Carlo sampling, stochastic collocation, and multi‐wavelet stochastic expansion. Variabilities in the quantities of interest, including branch pressure, flow, wall shear stress, and wall deformation are assessed. We find that uncertainty in inlet pressures and intramyocardial pressures significantly affect all resulting QoIs, while uncertainty in elastic modulus only affects the mechanical response of the vascular wall. Variability in the morphometry exponent used to distribute the total downstream vascular resistance to the single outlets, has little effect on coronary hemodynamics or wall mechanics. Finally, we compare convergence behaviors of statistics of QoIs using several uncertainty propagation methods on three model benchmark problems and the left coronary simulations. From the simulation results, we conclude that the multi‐wavelet stochastic expansion shows superior accuracy and performance against Quasi Monte Carlo and stochastic collocation methods.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract  
    more » « less