Vascularization of thick engineered tissue and organ constructs like the heart, liver, pancreas or kidney remains a major challenge in tissue engineering. Vascularization is needed to supply oxygen and nutrients and remove waste in living tissues and organs through a network that should possess high perfusion ability and significant mechanical strength and elasticity. In this paper, we introduce a fabrication process to print vascular conduits directly, where conduits were reinforced with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to enhance their mechanical properties and bioprintability. In vitro evaluation of printed conduits encapsulated in human coronary artery smooth muscle cells was performed to characterize the effects of CNT reinforcement on the mechanical, perfusion and biological performance of the conduits. Perfusion and permeability, cell viability, extracellular matrix formation and tissue histology were assessed and discussed, and it was concluded that CNT-reinforced vascular conduits provided a foundation for mechanically appealing constructs where CNTs could be replaced with natural protein nanofibers for further integration of these conduits in large-scale tissue fabrication.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering