Source: Science Daily
Researchers turn to the vascular system of plants to solve a major bioengineering problem blocking the regeneration of human tissues and organs.
Researchers face a fundamental challenge as they seek to scale up human tissue regeneration from small lab samples to full-size tissues and organs: how to establish a vascular system that delivers blood deep into the developing tissue. Researchers have now successfully turned to plants, culturing beating human heart cells on spinach leaves that were stripped of plant cells.
Current bioengineering techniques, including 3-D printing, can’t fabricate the branching network of blood vessels down to the capillary scale that are required to deliver the oxygen, nutrients and essential molecules required for proper tissue growth. To solve this problem, a multidisciplinary research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Arkansas State University-Jonesboro have successfully turned to plants. They report their initial findings in the paper “Crossing kingdoms: Using decelluralized plants as perfusable tissue engineering scaffolds” published online in advance of the May 2017 issue of the journal Biomaterials.
“Plants and animals exploit fundamentally different approaches to transporting fluids, chemicals and macromolecules, yet there are surprising similarities in their vascular network structures,” the authors wrote. “The development of decellularized plants for scaffolding opens up the potential for a new branch of science that investigates the mimicry between plant and animal.”
Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170322152753.htm