Design of custom-shaped vascularized tissues using microtissue spheroids as minimal building units

Jens M. Kelm, Valentin Djonov, Laks M. Ittner, David Fluri, Walter Born, Simon P. Hoerstrup, Martin Fussenegger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Citations (Scopus)


Tissue engineering strategies are gathering clinical momentum in regenerative medicine and are expected to provide excellent opportunities for therapy for difficult-to-treat human pathologies. Being aware of the requirement to produce larger artificial tissue implants for clinical applications, we used microtissues, produced using gravity-enforced self-assembly of monodispersed primary cells, as minimal tissue units to generate scaffold-free vascularized artificial macrotissues in custom-shaped agarose molds. Mouse myoblast, pig and human articular-derived chondrocytes, and human myofibroblast (HMF)-composed microtissues (μm3 scale) were amalgamated to form coherent macrotissue patches (mm3 scale) of a desired shape. Macrotissues, assembled from the human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC)-coated HMF microtissues, developed a vascular system, which functionally connected to the chicken embryo's vasculature after implantation. The design of scaffold-free vascularized macrotissues is a first step toward the scale-up and production of artificial tissue implants for future tissue engineering initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2151-2160
Number of pages10
JournalTissue Engineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


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