Growing blood vessels in space: The SPHEROIDS project

Marcus Krüger, Sascha Kopp, Markus Wehland, Johann Bauer, Sarah Baatout, Marjan Moreels, Marcel Egli, Thomas J. Corydon, Manfred Infanger, Daniela Grimm

    Research outputpeer-review


    Under normal culture conditions endothelial cells (ECs) grow as single layers on the bottom surface of cell culture flasks. In numerous experiments using simulated microgravity we noticed that the ECs formed three-dimensional, tube-like cell aggregates resembling the intima of small, rudimentary blood vessels. The SPHEROIDS project has now shown that similar processes occur in space. For the first time, we could observe scaffold-free growth of human ECs into multicellular spheroids and tubular structures during an experiment in real microgravity. With further investigation of the space samples we hope to understand endothelial 3D growth and to improve the in vitro engineering of biocompatible vessels which could be used in surgery.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication69th International astronautical congres - IAC 2018
    PublisherCurran Associates, Inc.
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Print)9781510881655
    StatePublished - Apr 2019
    EventAIC 2018 - 69th International astronautical congres - Bremen
    Duration: 1 Oct 20185 Oct 2018


    ConferenceAIC 2018 - 69th International astronautical congres

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