Vascular networks are found throughout the body, surrounding organs to carry nutrients, waste, and compounds. To provide adequate fluid flow to and from organs, the body needs to be able to generate and maintain new vascular structures. Vasculature forms from layers of endothelial cells, which are differentiated from precursor cells. Microenvironmental factors of the human body are sensitive and need to be in optimum condition to promote the formation of viable vascular structures, a process known as vasculogenesis.
Microfluidic devices provide not only the three-dimensional capacity to prompt vasculogenesis but also dynamic, physiologically relevant fluid flow that new vasculature needs to support. This perfusable vasculature can be cultured with multiple organs to study their interactions and find factors that influence the formation of functional vascular networks.