Although vascular disease is a leading cause of mortality, in vitro tools for controlled, quantitative studies of vascular biological processes in an environment that reflects physiological complexity remain limited. We developed a novel in vitro artery that exhibits a number of unique features distinguishing it from tissue-engineered or organ-on-a-chip constructs, most notably that it allows deployment of endovascular devices including stents, quantitative real-time tracking of cellular responses and detailed measurement of flow velocity and lumenal shear stress using particle image velocimetry. The wall of the stentable in vitro artery consists of an annular collagen hydrogel containing smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and whose lumenal surface is lined with a monolayer of endothelial cells (ECs). The system has in vivo dimensions and physiological flow conditions and allows automated high-resolution live imaging of both SMCs and ECs. To demonstrate proof-of-concept, we imaged and quantified EC wound healing, SMC motility and altered shear stresses on the endothelium after deployment of a coronary stent. The stentable in vitro artery provides a unique platform suited for a broad array of research applications. Wide-scale adoption of this system promises to enhance our understanding of important biological events affecting endovascular device performance and to reduce dependence on animal studies.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3634253.
- Received October 17, 2016.
- Accepted November 28, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.