Date of Award



Biomedical and General Engineering


Kristen O'Halloran Cardinal


Tissue engineering is an emerging field that offers novel and unmatched potential medical therapies and treatments. While the vast aim of tissue engineering endeavors is to provide clinically implantable constructs, secondary applications have been developed to utilize tissue-engineered constructs for in-vitro evaluation of devices and therapies. Specifically, in-vitro blood vessel mimics (BVM) have been developed to create a bench-top blood vessel model using human cells that can be used to test and evaluate vascular disease treatments and intravascular devices. Previous BVM work has used fat derived human microvascular endothelial cells (EC) sodded on an ePTFE scaffold. To create a more physiologically accurate model, a dual layer of large vessel endothelial and smooth muscle cells (SMC) on an ePTFE tube is investigated throughout this thesis. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and human umbilical vein smooth muscle cells (HUVSMC) were chosen as the large vessel cell types and cultivated according to standard procedures. Before dual sodding, sodding density experiments with HUVSMC were performed to determine the number of cells required to create a confluent cell layer. HUVSMC sodded by trans-luminal pressure at densities ranging from 3.5x10^5 cells/cm^2 to 1.0x10^6 cells/cm^2 were run for one day to observe luminal coverage. After determining the desirable range for HUVSMC sodding, HUVSMC experiments with 5.0x10^5 cells/cm^2 and 7.5x10^5 cells/cm^2 were run over seven days to evaluate progression of the graft over time. Histology and SEM methods were used for analysis. A HUVEC study was next conducted over 7 days to confirm that the large vessel endothelial cell could be sodded and sustained on ePTFE in-vitro. Next, dual sodding was performed by pressure sodding HUVSMC at 7.5x10^5 cells/cm^2 followed by trans-luminal flow for 30 minutes. HUVECs were subsequently trans-luminally pressure sodded at 5.0x10^5 cells/cm^2 followed by an additional 30 minutes of trans-luminal flow; perfusion flow began following the final 30 minutes of trans-luminal flow. Experiments for the dual layered grafts were run for both one and seven days to evaluate and develop the dual sodding protocol as well as observe the co-culture over time. Analysis of the dual layered grafts was performed by SEM, histology, and fluorescence microscopy. HUVECs were incubated with Cell Tracker™ prior to dual sodding and both cell types with bisbenzimide after graft harvest to attempt to distinguish between cell types. Results from the thesis illustrate that large vessel smooth muscle and endothelial cells can be sodded onto ePTFE scaffolds and sustained within the in-vitro BVM system for up to 7 days. Furthermore, cost analysis demonstrates that the addition of a smooth muscle cell layer adds minimal costs to the BVM system. In conclusion, the studies contained within this thesis culminate in a protocol for the dual sodding of smooth muscle and endothelial cells with the aim of creating a physiologically representative co-culture blood vessel mimic.