The development and physiologic role of small intestine (SI) vasculature is poorly studied. This is partly due to a lack of targetable, organ-specific markers for in vivo studies of two critical tissue components: endothelium and stroma. This challenge is exacerbated by limitations of traditional cell culture techniques, which fail to recapitulate mechanobiologic stimuli known to affect vessel development. Here, we construct and characterize a 3D in vitro microfluidic model that supports the growth of patient-derived intestinal subepithelial myofibroblasts (ISEMFs) and endothelial cells (ECs) into perfused capillary networks. We report how ISEMF and EC-derived vasculature responds to physiologic parameters such as oxygen tension, cell density, growth factors, and pharmacotherapy with an antineoplastic agent (Erlotinib). Finally, we demonstrate effects of ISEMF and EC co-culture on patient-derived human intestinal epithelial cells (HIECs), and incorporate perfused vasculature into a gut-on-a-chip (GOC) model that includes HIECs. Overall, we demonstrate that ISEMFs possess angiogenic properties as evidenced by their ability to reliably, reproducibly, and quantifiably facilitate development of perfused vasculature in a microfluidic system. We furthermore demonstrate the feasibility of including perfused vasculature, including ISEMFs, as critical components of a novel, patient-derived, GOC system with translational relevance as a platform for precision and personalized medicine research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3842
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


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