Endothelial Cell Colonization And Angiogenic Potential Of Combined Nano- And Micro-Fibrous Scaffolds For Bone Tissue Engineering
Santos, Marina I.
Gomes, Manuela E.
Unger, Ronald E.
Reis, Rui L.
Kirkpatrick, C. James
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Presently the majority of tissue engineering approaches aimed at regenerating bone relies only on post-implantation vascularization. Strategies that include seeding endothelial cells (ECs) on biomaterials and promoting their adhesion, migration and functionality might be a solution for the formation of vascularized bone. Nano/micro-fiber-combined scaffolds have an innovative structure, inspired by extracellular matrix (ECM) that combines a nano-network, aimed to promote cell adhesion, with a micro-fiber mesh that provides the mechanical support. In this work we addressed the influence of this nano-network on growth pattern, morphology, inflammatory expression profile, expression of structural proteins, homotypic interactions and angiogenic potential of human EC cultured on a scaffold made of a blend of starch and poly(caprolactone). The nano-network allowed cells to span between individual micro-fibers and influenced cell morphology. Furthermore, on nano-fibers as well as on micro-fibers ECs maintained the physiological expression pattern of the structural protein vimentin and PECAM-1 between adjacent cells. In addition, ECs growing on the nano/micro-fiber-combined scaffold were sensitive to pro-inflammatory stimulus. Under pro-angiogenic conditions in vitro, the ECM-like nano-network provided the structural and organizational stability for ECs' migration and organization into capillary-like structures. The architecture of nano/micro-fiber-combined scaffolds elicited and guided the 3D distribution of ECs without compromising the structural requirements for bone regeneration. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.