Perfusable lung microvasculature with primary human lung cells
The pulmonary microvasculature plays an important but often unclear role in the progression of lung diseases ranging from pulmonary arterial hypertension to pulmonary fibrosis. To investigate the morphology and function of lung microvessels in different conditions, we developed an in vitro model of 3D perfusable and long-lived microvasculature, using patient-derived cells. In this platform, primary human endothelial cells (HUVEC or lung microvascular EC) and lung pericytes self-arranged to a 3D microvascular network inside a fibrin scaffold. They showed close similarity to in vivo microvessels in terms of morphology, marker expression, permeability and functional response upon perfusion with a vasoconstrictor. Using this in vitro model, we investigate how drugs, continuous perfusion, or additional cell types, act on microvascular remodeling. With this advanced in vitro model, we hope to contribute to better understand the complex interactions of the lung microvasculature with its environment in health and disease.