Growing blood vessels in space: Preparation studies of the SPHEROIDS project using related ground-based studies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • 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
  • Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
  • Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts - Space Biology Group
  • Aarhus University
  • Aarhus University Hospital
  • UGent - Universiteit Gent

Documents & links


Endothelial cells (ECs) grow as single layers on the bottom surface of cell culture flasks under normal (1g) culture conditions. 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 were able to observe scaffoldfree 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
Pages (from-to)267–272
JournalActa Astronautica
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2019


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

ID: 5034825