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Stem cell-based vascularization of microphysiological systems


Microphysiological systems (MPSs) (i.e., tissue or organ chips) exploit microfluidics and 3D cell culture to mimic tissue and organ-level physiology. The advent of human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) technology has accelerated the use of MPSs to study human disease in a range of organ systems. However, in the reduction of system complexity, the intricacies of vasculature are an often-overlooked aspect of MPS design. The growing library of pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cell and perivascular cell protocols have great potential to improve the physiological relevance of vasculature within MPS, specifically for in vitro disease modeling. Three strategic categories of vascular MPS are outlined: self-assembled, interface focused, and 3D biofabricated. This review discusses key features and development of the native vasculature, linking that to how hiPSC-derived vascular cells have been generated, the state of the art in vascular MPSs, and opportunities arising from interdisciplinary thinking.

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