Perivascular Secretome Influences Hematopoietic Stem Cell Maintenance in a Gelatin Hydrogel

Victoria Barnhouse, Nathan Petrikas, Cody Crosby, Janet Zoldan, Brendan Harley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adult hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) produce the body's full complement of blood and immune cells. They reside in specialized microenvironments, or niches, within the bone marrow. The perivascular niche near blood vessels is believed to help maintain primitive HSCs in an undifferentiated state but demonstration of this effect is difficult. In vivo studies make it challenging to determine the direct effect of the endosteal and perivascular niches as they can be in close proximity, and two-dimensional in vitro cultures often lack an instructive extracellular matrix environment. We describe a tissue engineering approach to develop and characterize a three-dimensional perivascular tissue model to investigate the influence of the perivascular secretome on HSC behavior. We generate 3D endothelial networks in methacrylamide-functionalized gelatin hydrogels using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). We identify a subset of secreted factors important for HSC function, and examine the response of primary murine HSCs in hydrogels to the perivascular secretome. Within 4 days of culture, perivascular conditioned media promoted maintenance of a greater fraction of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. This work represents an important first-generation perivascular model to investigate the role of niche secreted factors on the maintenance of primary HSCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)780-792
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Tissue engineering
  • Hematopoietic stem cell
  • Biomaterial niche

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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