In this project, we are evaluating the possibility to seed endothelial cells on gas-permeable membranes to optimize oxygenator hemocompatibility, which still is a significant problem in conventional processes. During pre-cultivation in a bioreactor (see figure 1), endothelial cells grow confluent and are pre-conditioned to shear stresses by continuous medium flow. The cells are therefore able to withstand these shear stresses inside an oxygenator later on.
In figure 2, one can see the differences between static and dynamic culture of endothelial cells. Dynamically cultivated cells change their shape. They grow elongated in comparision to static cultivated cells, which form clusters. In the oxygenator the gas exchange via an endothelialized gas-permeable membrane is tested.