Tissue generation and validation

Matrix tissue interaction

© E. Pöschl (UEA, Norwich, UK)
Isolated pericytes (red) contribute to the formation of vascular structures (endothelial cells; purple) in vitro. Deposition of extracellular matrix (Collagen IV; green) and nuclei of individual cells are labeled (blue).

The overall objective of this WP is to achieve a detailed understanding of characteristics and functions of vascular cells in contact with novel materials to optimise the establishment of composite vascular systems. This includes the interaction of perivascular cells, with endothelial cells and the underlying ECM. Additionally the interaction between adipocytes and electrospun or biological matrices will be investigated.

The vasculature is characterised by a composite structure of functionally distinct cells like Pericytes (PC) and Endothelial cells (EC) in the vessel wall, specialised extracellular matrix (ECM) layers (vascular basement membrane, interstitial matrix) and contacts with surrounding tissues. This WP will define effects of novel materials on the phenotype, behaviour and receptor-mediated signaling of vascular cells with a focus on perivascular and endothelial cells to improve maturation and stability of engineered vascular structures. In parallel adipocyte interactions with electrospun and biological scaffold materials is analysed.

The Partners of this WP are the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology, University of East Anglia, Innovent-Jena e.V., Medical University of Vienna, University Hospital Bergmannsheil, the University of Stuttgart and Beiersdorf AG.

Development of a vascularized composite tissue graft

The main objective of this work package is the development of a vascularized composite graft which is comparable to native vascularized skin. It will consist of three layers: subcutaneous fatty tissue, dermis and epidermis.
First of all the protocols for the isolation and culture of primary preadipocytes and adipocytes from subcutaneous fat have to be established. In a second step human primary adipocytes and fibroblasts are seeded on synthetic and biological scaffolds to develop the in vitro fatty tissue. This fatty tissue will be combined with a dermal and an epidermal layer to build up a 3D skin equivalent. A vascular system will be integrated in the fatty tissue to supply the artificial skin with nutrients.

The partners involved in this work package are the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology, the Medical University of Vienna, the University Hospital Bergmannsheil, the University of Stuttgart and Beiersdorf. 

Project progress
Implement protocol for the isolation and culture of primary human adipocytes as well as the culture and differentiation of preadipocytes.
Spheroid generation: Co-culture of endothelial cells and preadipocytes; mono-culture with each cell type; search for the right culturing conditions.

Validation of vascularized composite tissue graft

Cleanroom Assembly, Vimecon
Cleanroom Assembly, Vimecon

The overall objective of this WP is to evaluate and validate the biocompatibility of generated electro-spun scaffolds or the artificial vascularised composites to optimise the used raw materials for the development of standardised composites. Furthermore the biofunctionality of singular composites will be validated. Finally a vascularised artificial skin graft will be validated for commercial use and evaluated for pre-clinical application.

The Partners of this WP are University Hospital Bergmannsheil Vimecon, Global Clinical Trials Management AG, University of East Anglia and Beiersdorf AG.