Viability and function of primary human endothelial cells on smooth poly(ether imide) films


Poly(ether imide) (PEI) is being explored as potential biomaterial for cardiovascular applications. Different studies showed that human umbilical venous endothelial cells (HUVEC) are able to adhere and proliferate on PEI membranes (Rq = 13.20 ± 1.58 nm). A recently published study revealed evidence for much lower platelet adhesion on very smooth PEI-films (Rq = 2.37 ± 1.40 nm). Therefore, we explored whether primary human venous endothelial cells (HUVEC) are able to adhere and proliferate on such very smooth PEI-films compared to tissue-cultured polystyrene (TCP) as reference material. Cytotoxicity testing revealed that PEI had a slight cytotoxic effect on HUVEC accompanied by a marginal reduced integrity of the plasma membrane and a significant lower mitochondrial activity. However long-term seeding experiments up to eleven days exhibited that HUVEC were able to proliferate on the PEI-films till confluence (TCP 96,190 ± 18,289 cells/cm2; PEI 91,590 ± 19,583 cells/cm2). Further studies are planned to monitor the influence of shear force on the endothelial cell monolayer in a dynamic test system to determine its stability in view of shear resistant endothelialization of PEI for cardiovascular devices.
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