Adipose regeneration strategies have been hampered by the inability to supply an adequate vascular supply following implantation. Vascularization in vitro, also called prevascularization, is a promising method that could promote the vascularization of engineered adipose tissue constructs upon implantation. In this study we compared the ability of prevascularized-to-non-prevascularized fibrin-based human adipose tissue to promote vascularization. Human adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (ASCs) and different mixtures (1:1, 1:2 and 1:5) of ASCs with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were cultured in fibrin at two different densities (1.0 × 106and 10 × 106cells/ml) for 7 days. Histological analysis revealed that prevascular structures formed in 1:5 ASC/HUVEC fibrin-based constructs seeded with a total of 10 × 106cells/ml. These constructs and ASC-only constructs were implanted subcutaneously in athymic mice for 7 days and generated lipid-containing grafts. The numbers and densities of blood vessels within the ASC/HUVEC constructs were similar to those of ASC-only constructs. Furthermore, immunostaining studies demonstrated human-derived vasculature within a few of the ASC/HUVEC and ASC-only constructs. A subset of this human-derived vasculature contained erythrocytes, indicating integration with the host vasculature. In conclusion, our study indicated no difference in the rate of vascularization of prevascularized ASC/HUVEC and non-prevascularized ASC-only fibrin-based constructs, suggesting that prevascularization of these fibrin-based constructs does not promote vascularization. Our results further indicated that not only endothelial cells, but also ASCs may contribute to the formation of vascular lumina upon implantation. This finding is interesting, since it demonstrates the possibility of vascularized adipose tissue engineering from a single cell source.

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Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

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