The behavior of endothelial cells is remarkably influenced by the physical and biochemical signals from their surrounding microenvironments.
Here, the elasticity of fiber meshes was studied as a design parameter of substrates for endothelial cells in order to modulate angiogenesis.
Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were cultured on electrospun fiber meshes made from polyetheresterurethane (PEEU), differing in their elasticity. Cell morphology, proliferation, migration and angiogenesis of endothelial cells on the degradable substrate meshes were characterized.
The aspect ratio of HUVECs cultured on the fiber meshes from PEEU materials increased with increasing stiffness of the materials. HUVECs cultured on fiber meshes with high stiffness (Young’s modulus E = 4.5±0.8 MPa) presented a higher proliferation rate and significantly faster migration velocity, as well as higher tube formation capability than the cells cultured on fiber meshes with low stiffness (E = 2.6±0.8 MPa).
These results suggested that tuning the fiber meshes’ elasticity might be a potential strategy for modulating the formation or regeneration of blood vessels.