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20 March 2018

Clot Contraption

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

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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