AbstractThe proper morphology and function of the vascular endothelium are prerequisites for a sufficient supply of the tissues. Endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction can lead to circulatory disorders and the development of cardiovascular diseases. The endothelialization of cardiovascular implants is a sophisticated task since EC miss their natural environment and physiological stimuli in vitro. In addition, different studies revealed that the EC behavior and morphology depended on the substrate and the passage number of the EC. Therefore, the comparison of endothelialization studies is very difficult, when passage and substrate are unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the growth potential and cell morphology of human venous endothelial cells (HUVEC) as a function of different cell passages and different substrates (pristine polystyrene, tissue-typical ECM-coated polystyrene). The study revealed that HUVEC morphology and growth potential were significantly different on pristine polystyrene compared to the basal lamina-like ECM-coated polystyrene surface. Furthermore, it became obvious that the passage of the cells affected the endothelialization of the polystyrene surface significantly. In conclusion, this study emphasized the need for a critical consideration of EC data whereas a simple comparison of results is not possible if EC age and passage is unknown.