The vasculature plays a central role as the highway of the body, through which nutrients and oxygen as well as biochemical factors and signals are distributed by blood flow. Therefore, understanding the flow and distribution of particles inside the vasculature is valuable both in healthy and disease-associated networks. By creating models that mimic the microvasculature fundamental knowledge can be obtained about these parameters. However, microfabrication of such models remains a challenging goal. In this paper we demonstrate a promising 3D sugar printing method that is capable of recapitulating the vascular network geometry with a vessel diameter range of 1 mm down to 150 µm. For this work a dedicated 3D printing setup was built that is capable of accurately printing the sugar glass material with control over fibre diameter and shape. By casting of printed sugar glass networks in PDMS and dissolving the sugar glass, perfusable networks with circular cross-sectional channels are obtained. Using particle image velocimetry, analysis of the flow behaviour was conducted showing a Poisseuille flow profile inside the network and validating the quality of the printing process.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited