Cell-microenvironment interactions and architectures in microvascular systems

Simone Bersini, Iman K. Yazdi, Giuseppe Talo', Su Ryon Shin, Matteo Moretti, Ali Khademhosseini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the past decade, significant advances have been made in the design and optimization of novel biomaterials and microfabrication techniques to generate vascularized tissues. Novel microfluidic systems have facilitated the development and optimization of in vitro models for exploring the complex pathophysiological phenomena that occur inside a microvascular environment. To date, most of these models have focused on engineering of increasingly complex systems, rather than analyzing the molecular and cellular mechanisms that drive microvascular network morphogenesis and remodeling. In fact, mutual interactions among endothelial cells (ECs), supporting mural cells and organ-specific cells, as well as between ECs and the extracellular matrix, are key driving forces for vascularization. This review focuses on the integration of materials science, microengineering and vascular biology for the development of in vitro microvascular systems. Various approaches currently being applied to study cell-cell/cell-matrix interactions, as well as biochemical/biophysical cues promoting vascularization and their impact on microvascular network formation, will be identified and discussed. Finally, this review will explore in vitro applications of microvascular systems, in vivo integration of transplanted vascularized tissues, and the important challenges for vascularization and controlling the microcirculatory system within the engineered tissues, especially for microfabrication approaches. It is likely that existing models and more complex models will further our understanding of the key elements of vascular network growth, stabilization and remodeling to translate basic research principles into functional, vascularized tissue constructs for regenerative medicine applications, drug screening and disease models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1130
Number of pages18
JournalBiotechnology Advances
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Cell-cell interactions
  • Cell-matrix interactions
  • Endothelium
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Microenvironment
  • Microfabrication
  • Microfluidics
  • Microvascular network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology


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