HYDROGEL SELECTION AND CIRCUMFERENTIAL VASCULAR SMOOTH MUSCLE CELL ALIGNMENT FOR AN ARTERY-ON-A-CHIP
Clyne, Alisa M
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Atherosclerosis leads to cardiovascular disease, which is the greatest cause of the death in the US. Atherosclerosis begins with endothelial dysfunction, including reduced nitric oxide production and subsequent vascular smooth muscle cell relaxation. Current methods to measure endothelial dysfunction are complex, low-throughput, and often require tissue harvested from animals, which limits human translation. Here, we present the foundation for a contractile artery-on-a-chip to investigate endothelial dysfunction. This device is comprised of a hydrogel channel in which human endothelial cells can be seeded together with circumferentially aligned vascular smooth muscle cells. In this thesis, I present data showing that the hydrogel channel can be made from a 1:1 collagen/GelMa blend and withstand 20µL/min flowrate. I also present a method to circumferentially align vascular smooth muscle cells inside a channel on feature sizes as large as 0.35mm. Together, these components bring us closer to realizing an in vitro artery-on-a-chip with contractile capability.