The microvasculature plays a critical role in human physiology and is closely associated to various human diseases. By combining advanced microfluidic-based techniques, the engineered 3D microvascular network model provides a precise and reproducible platform to study the microvasculature in vitro, which is an essential and primary component to engineer organ-on-chips and achieve greater biological relevance. In this review, we discuss current strategies to engineer microvessels in vitro, which can be broadly classified into endothelial cell lining-based methods, vasculogenesis and angiogenesis-based methods, and hybrid methods. By closely simulating relevant factors found in vivo such as biomechanical, biochemical, and biological microenvironment, it is possible to create more accurate organ-specific models, including both healthy and pathological vascularized microtissue with their respective vascular barrier properties. We further discuss the integration of tumor cells/spheroids into the engineered microvascular to model the vascularized microtumor tissue, and their potential application in the study of cancer metastasis and anti-cancer drug screening. Finally, we conclude with our commentaries on current progress and future perspective of on-chip vascularization techniques for fundamental and clinical/translational research.
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