Perfecting Human Vessels

“Perfecting” human vessels in a dish

Juan C. Sanchez-Arias

This year started with a major breakthrough in tissue engineering and disease modeling. For the very first time, “perfect” human vessels were grown in a dish. This daunting task was accomplished by a multidisciplinary team at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy (IMBA), led by Dr. Josef M. P“Perfecting” human vessels in a dish

This year started with a major breakthrough in tissue engineering and disease modeling. For the very first time, “perfect” human vessels were grown in a dish. This daunting task was accomplished by a multidisciplinary team at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy (IMBA), led by Dr. Josef M. Penninger (Canada Research Chair in Functional Genetics), now at UBC’s Life Science Institute and recruited as part of the Canada 150 Research Chair campaign. The study published in Nature represents a gigantic step forward in modelling vascular diseases, allowing researchers to dissect molecular pathways implicating in the development of cardiovascular complications observed in diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, stroke, and wound healing.

The research team developed a self-organizing three-dimensional human blood vessel organoid from induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs) through a multi-step protocol to modulate mesoderm development and promote vascular lineage specification. This resulted in the formation of interconnected vascular networks of CD31+ endothelial cells and proper pericyte organization enveloped by a basement membrane, features that are typically not recapitulated by standard co-culturing protocols used to date. Gene expression and functional analyses confirmed these vascular organoids contained typical endothelial and pericyte functional signatures.
enninger (Canada Research Chair in Functional Genetics), now at UBC’s Life Science Institute and recruited as part of the Canada 150 Research Chair campaign. The study published in Nature represents a gigantic step forward in modelling vascular diseases, allowing researchers to dissect molecular pathways implicating in the development of cardiovascular complications observed in diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, stroke, and wound healing.

The research team developed a self-organizing three-dimensional human blood vessel organoid from induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs) through a multi-step protocol to modulate mesoderm development and promote vascular lineage specification. This resulted in the formation of interconnected vascular networks of CD31+ endothelial cells and proper pericyte organization enveloped by a basement membrane, features that are typically not recapitulated by standard co-culturing protocols used to date. Gene expression and functional analyses confirmed these vascular organoids contained typical endothelial and pericyte functional signatures.