Endothelial cell morphogenesis and capillary-like network induced by soluble and bound VEGF in a definite Biogel composed of collagen and Fibronectin

Hsun Chiang, Yu Che Cheng, Chih Ang Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In vitro culture of endothelial cells to form capillary-like networks is essential in tissue engineering. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is one of the primary signal proteins stimulating blood vessel formation. This growth factor can be soluble in the medium or protein-bound to the substrate. However, less attention has been paid to distinguishing the specific stimulations by soluble and bound VEGF. We conducted a series of experiments to explore the respective effects of these two VEGF forms. An in-house synthesized biogel comprising a definite concentration of collagen and fibronectin was designed to cultivate human umbilical vein endothelial cells to form the capillary-like network. Collagen served as the primary substrate for cell attachment. Fibronectin provided the surface to bind soluble VEGF in the culture medium to create the bound VEGF. The experiment of adding VEGF-blocking-peptide was conducted to prevent the formation of VEGF bound to the fibronectin domains, to distinguish the respective effects of the soluble and bound VEGF. With the in-house biogel of definite components, we were able to clarify the different roles of soluble and bound VEGF. The results indicated that the soluble VEGF promptly induced the cells to change from round to elongated shape, which contributed to forming network cords. Simultaneously, the bound VEGF provided long-term stimulation, causing the cells to migrate and differentiate into the final capillary-like network.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9501
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Capillary-like network
  • Endothelial cells
  • Morphology
  • VEGF
  • Vascularization

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