Growing blood vessels in space: The SPHEROIDS project

Research output: Contribution to report/book/conference proceedingsIn-proceedings paper


  • Marcus Krüger
  • Sascha Kopp
  • Markus Wehland
  • Johann Bauer
  • Sarah Baatout
  • Marjan Moreels
  • Marcel Egli
  • Thomas J. Corydon
  • Manfred Infanger
  • Daniela Grimm

Institutes & Expert groups

  • Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg - Plastic, Aesthetic and Hand Surgery
  • IPP - Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik
  • Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts - Space Biology Group
  • Aarhus University Hospital

Documents & links



Under normal culture conditions endothelial cells (ECs) grow as single layers on the bottom surface of cell culture flasks. In numerous experiments using simulated microgravity we noticed that the ECs formed three-dimensional, tube-like cell aggregates resembling the intima of small, rudimentary blood vessels. The SPHEROIDS project has now shown that similar processes occur in space. For the first time, we could observe scaffold-free growth of human ECs into multicellular spheroids and tubular structures during an experiment in real microgravity. With further investigation of the space samples we hope to understand endothelial 3D growth and to improve the in vitro engineering of biocompatible vessels which could be used in surgery.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication69th International astronautical congres - IAC 2018
PublisherCurran Associates, Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781510881655
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
EventAIC 2018 - 69th International astronautical congres - Bremen, Germany
Duration: 1 Oct 20185 Oct 2018


ConferenceAIC 2018 - 69th International astronautical congres


  • Microgravity, Spaceflight, Random positioning machine, 3D growth, Spheroids, Tubular structures

ID: 6896285