EndOxy: Mid-term stability and shear stress resistance of endothelial cells on PDMS gas exchange membranes

Ariane Hellmann, Sarah Klein, Felix Hesselmann, Suzana Djeljadini, Thomas Schmitz-Rode, Stefan Jockenhoevel*, Christian G. Cornelissen, Anja Lena Thiebes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Endothelialized oxygenator devices (EndOxy) with a physiological, nonthrombogenic, and anti-inflammatory surface offer the potential to overcome current shortcomings of conventional extracorporeal membrane oxygenation such as complications like thromboembolism and bleeding that deteriorate adequate long-term hemocompatibility. The approach of endothelialization of gas exchange membranes, and thus the formation of a nonthrombogenic and anti-inflammatory surface, is promising. In this study, we investigated the mid-term shear stress resistance as well as gas transfer rates and cell densities of endothelial cells seeded on RGD-conjugated polydimethylsiloxane (RGD-PDMS) gas exchange membranes under dynamic conditions. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells were seeded on RGD-PDMS and exposed to defined shear stresses in a microfluidic bioreactor. Endothelial cell morphology was assessed by bright field microscopy and immunocytochemistry. Furthermore, gas transfer measurement of blank, RGD-conjugated, and endothelialized PDMS oxygenator membranes was performed. RGD-PDMS gas exchange membranes proved suitable for the dynamic culture of endothelial cells for up to 21 days at a wall shear stress of 2.9 dyn/cm(2). Furthermore, the cells resisted increased wall shear stresses up to 8.6 dyn/cm(2) after a previous dynamic preculture of each one hour at 2.9 dyn/cm(2) and 5.7 dyn/cm(2). Also, after a longer dynamic preculture of three days at 2.9 dyn/cm(2) and one hour at 5.7 dyn/cm(2), increased wall shear stresses of 8.6 dyn/cm(2) were tolerated by the cells and cell integrity could be remained. Gas transfer (GT) tests revealed that neither RGD conjugation nor endothelialization of RGD-PDMS significantly decrease the gas transfer rates of the membranes during short-term trials. Gas transfer rates are stable for at least 72 hours of dynamic cultivation of endothelial cells. Immunocytochemistry showed that the cell layer stained positive for typical endothelial cell markers CD31 and von Willebrand factor (VWF) after all trials. Cell density of EC on RGD-PDMS increased between 3 and 21 days of dynamic culture. In this study, we show the suitability of RGD-PDMS membranes for flow resistant endothelialization of gas-permeable membranes, demonstrating the feasibility of this approach for a biohybrid lung.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E419-E433
Number of pages15
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • biohybrid lung
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • human umbilical vein endothelial cells
  • polydimethylsiloxane
  • tissue engineering
  • LUNG
  • ECMO
  • RGD

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