Technology

Scientists have grown perfect human blood vessels in the lab

An international group of scientists led byspecialists of the University of British Columbia (Canada) have grown in the Petri dish a perfect three-dimensional replica of human blood vessels, perfectly imitating the structure and functions of these. Researchers believe that the achieved result, the details of which are described in the journal Nature, opens up the possibility to more effectively approach the development of therapy for various serious diseases, such as diabetes.

People with diabetes - a chronic conditionhigh blood sugar - often there is a violation of blood circulation in the body. As a result, it can cause heart attacks, strokes, other diseases associated with the cardiovascular system, as well as lead to amputation of the limbs. To study diabetic conditions, scientists use animals, for example, the same laboratory mice. However, the use of the mouse vascular system does not allow to fully explore and evaluate all aspects of the development of the disease, in particular, how the damage of the human vascular system occurs. This complicates the development of treatment for diabetes complications.

Ideally, of course, scientists always wanted toto be able to observe the effects of the development of the disease in vessels that are as similar to human as possible. Therefore, as an alternative to animal research, the production of tiny organs or organoids has been actively developing in recent years. Thus, other groups of scientists have already created organelles of the stomach, lungs, and even the brain. They have been used to conduct research aimed at understanding and developing methods for treating many diseases, ranging from cystic fibrosis and ending with Zika virus.

The science group behind the lastresearch, says that scientists for a long time could not create a truly perfect vascular organelles of man. However, in a press release from the University of British Columbia, it is noted that it has now succeeded.

"Our organelles are very similar to humanthe capillaries are even at the molecular level, so now we can use them to study diseases of the blood vessels directly on human tissues, ”comments the lead author of the study, Rainer Wimmer.

Comparison of changes in blood vessels: in humans and laboratory-created vascular organelles. The basement membrane (marked in green) around the blood vessels (red) is significantly enlarged in patients with diabetes (indicated by white arrows)

The authors of the work note that the organelles are vascularhuman systems were grown on stem cells — immature cells capable of taking the form of any others. As in the case of the present human vascular system, the organelles created have a network of capillaries covered with a basal membrane, which is a layer that separates connective tissue from the epithelium or endothelium and performs a structural function, giving and maintaining the shape of blood vessels.

Wimmer and the team transplanted the resulting organoids.live mice that do not have an immune system (this is necessary to prevent the rejection of new tissue). Organoids easily took root in their organisms, combined with the present circulatory system, and then developed further into a network of larger arteries, arterioles (small arteries) and small veins.

Scientists decided to go even further and evento recreate the "diabetic" vessels, characterized by a thickening of the basement membrane. Now they can be used as a model for defining new treatments.

Experimental results show thatcreated vascular organelles are a more appropriate model for studying diabetes, the researchers add. And since the circulatory system is associated with all parts of the body, the potential for the use of these organelles goes far beyond the research of only this disease.

"Every organ of our body is associated withcirculatory system. The ability to grow blood vessels in the form of organoids from stem cells is a turning point. With their help, we can find out the causes and methods of treating a huge number of diseases, ranging from diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, all cardiovascular diseases and ending with cancer, ”notes senior research author Jozer Penninger.

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