JERUSALEM, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Israeli researchers have 3D-printed a network of vessels, necessary for supplying blood to implanted tissues, the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) in northern Israel said on Sunday.
In a study published in the journal Advanced Materials, the Israeli team used 3D printing to create big and small vessels to form a system that contained a functional combination of both.
To create in the lab a tissue flap with all vessels needed, the team created a fenestrated polymeric scaffold that mimics the large blood vessel by using 3D printing technologies.
The fenestration served to create a hollow tube, with side openings that allowed the connection of smaller vessels.
Using a collagen bio-ink, a tissue was then printed and assembled around the scaffold, and a network of tiny blood vessels formed within it.
Finally, the large vessel scaffold was covered with endothelial cells, which are the type of cells that constitute the inner layer of all blood vessels in the body.
After a week of incubation, the artificial endothelium created a functional connection with the smaller 3D bio-printed vessels, mimicking the hierarchical structure of the human blood vessel tree.
This study constitutes an important step toward personalized medicine, the researchers said.