Microfluidic vascularized bone tissue model with hydroxyapatite-incorporated extracellular matrix†
Current in vitro systems mimicking bone tissues fail to fully integrate the three-dimensional (3D) microvasculature and bone tissue microenvironments, decreasing their similarity to in vivo conditions. Here, we propose 3D microvascular networks in a hydroxyapatite (HA)-incorporated extracellular matrix (ECM) for designing and manipulating a vascularized bone tissue model in a microfluidic device. Incorporation of HA of various concentrations resulted in ECM with varying mechanical properties. Sprouting angiogenesis was affected by mechanically modulated HA–extracellular matrix interactions, generating a model of vascularized bone microenvironment. Using this platform, we observed that hydroxyapatite enhanced angiogenic properties such as sprout length, sprouting speed, sprout number, and lumen diameter. This new platform integrates fibrin ECM with the synthetic bone mineral HA to provide in vivo-like microenvironments for bone vessel sprouting.