Towards a Biohybrid Lung: Endothelial Cells Promote Oxygen Transfer through Gas Permeable Membranes

Sarah Menzel, Nicole Finocchiaro, Christine Donay, Anja Lena Thiebes, Felix Hesselmann, Jutta Arens, Suzana Djeljadini, Matthias Wessling, Thomas Schmitz-Rode, Stefan Jockenhoevel*, Christian Gabriel Cornelissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In patients with respiratory failure, extracorporeal lung support can ensure the vital gas exchange via gas permeable membranes but its application is restricted by limited long-term stability and hemocompatibility of the gas permeable membranes, which are in contact with the blood. Endothelial cells lining these membranes promise physiological hemocompatibility and should enable prolonged application. However, the endothelial cells increase the diffusion barrier of the blood-gas interface and thus affect gas transfer. In this study, we evaluated how the endothelial cells affect the gas exchange to optimize performance while maintaining an integral cell layer. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells were seeded on gas permeable cell culture membranes and cultivated in a custom-made bioreactor. Oxygen transfer rates of blank and endothelialized membranes in endothelial culture medium were determined. Cell morphology was assessed by microscopy and immunohistochemistry. Both setups provided oxygenation of the test fluid featuring small standard deviations of the measurements. Throughout the measuring range, the endothelial cells seem to promote gas transfer to a certain extent exceeding the blank membranes gas transfer performance by up to 120%. Although the underlying principles hereof still need to be clarified, the results represent a significant step towards the development of a biohybrid lung.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5258196
Number of pages8
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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