Langmuir, Vol.29, No.2, 701-709, 2013
Design and Assessment of a Microfluidic Network System for Oxygen Transport in Engineered Tissue
Oxygen and nutrients cannot be delivered to cells residing in the interior of large-volume scaffolds via diffusion alone. Several efforts have been made to meet the metabolic needs of cells in a scaffold by constructing mass transport channels, particularly in the form of bifurcated networks. In contrast to progress in fabrication technologies, however, an approach to designing an optimal network based on experimental evaluation has not been actively reported. The main objective of this study was to establish a procedure for designing an effective microfluidic network system for a cell-seeded scaffold and to develop an experimental model to evaluate the design. We proposed a process to design a microfluidic network by combining an oxygen transport simulation with biomimetic principles governing biological vascular trees. The simulation was performed with the effective diffusion coefficient (D-e,D-s), which was experimentally measured in our previous study. Porous scaffolds containing an embedded microfluidic network were fabricated using the lost mold shape-forming process and salt leaching method. The reliability of the procedure was demonstrated by experiments using the scaffolds. This approach established a practical basis for designing an effective microfluidic network in a cell-seeded scaffold.