Vascular Tissue

Vascular Tissue
Retinal Tissue
Retinal Organisation
PAM System

Vascular Tissue Engineering

An important example of structurally organised tissue is vascular tissue which is distributed throughout the body in the form of a network of capillaries. Although seemingly disorganised, the branching structure of the vascular network is known to follow a fractal geometry. Furthermore the network is ubiquitous to the extent that no cell in the body is more than 100 microns from a blood supply. Infact, it is recognised that any engineered tissue must be provided with an adequate nutrient supply, and several efforts are now being addressed towards the engineering of blood vessels. In terms of complexity at the cellular level, capillaries may be considered as the simplest form of vascular tissue as they possess a single cell type, which makes up the endothelium.

Analysis of vascular branching and studies on angiogenesis have demonstrated that capillary networks closely approximate Cantor bar fractal structures. It has also been estimated that the cross section of a blood vessel decreases exponentially with its distance from the heart, and that the number of branches doubles while the length of branches halves with each bifurcation. Using these empirical rules, recursive tree-like structures which simulate the branching of a capillary network have been microfabricated and are being as scaffolds for endothelial cells.

Tree-like structure


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Aggiornato il: 05 febbraio 2003