This movie shows an artificial blood vessel healing itself after a wound. The microfluidic device consists of a layer of human endothelial cells [the cells that line blood vessels in the body] with a valve positioned beneath. Donor human blood is pumped across the endothelial cell layer and, when the valve is released, a wound is created. In the movie, blood cells and platelets can be seen flooding out from the wound until eventually a clot of cells and fibrin (in green) – an insoluble extracellular protein that forms a sticky fibrous mesh – is formed. The creators of the device designed it to allow researchers an unprecedented view of clot formation in real time under a microscope. Their idea was that such devices could provide a simple, uniform system for investigating how diseases, drugs and other factors accelerate or delay the formation of clots.
Written by Ruth Williams
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.