Modulation of human vascular endothelial cell behaviors by nanotopographic cues

Sara J. Liliensiek, Joshua A. Wood, Jiang Yong, Robert Auerbach, Paul F. Nealey, Christopher J. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


Basement membranes possess a complex three-dimensional topography in the nanoscale and submicron range which have been shown to profoundly modulate a large menu of fundamental cell behaviors. Using the topographic features found in native vascular endothelial basement membranes as a guide, polyurethane substrates were fabricated containing anisotropically ordered ridge and groove structures and isotropically ordered pores from 200. nm to 2000. nm in size. We investigated the impact of biomimetic length-scale topographic cues on orientation/elongation, proliferation and migration on four human vascular endothelial cell-types from large and small diameter vessels. We found that all cell-types exhibited orientation and alignment with the most pronounced response on anisotropically ordered ridges ≥ 800. nm. HUVEC cells were the only cell-type examined to demonstrate a decrease in proliferation in response to the smallest topographic features regardless of surface order. On anisotropically ordered surfaces all cell-types migrated preferentially parallel to the long axis of the ridges, with the greatest increase in cell migration being observed on the 1200. nm pitch. In contrast, cells did not exhibit any preference in direction or increase in migration speed on isotropically ordered surfaces. Overall, our data demonstrate that surface topographic features impact vascular endothelial cell behavior and that the impact of features varies with the cell behavior being considered, topographic feature scale, surface order, and the anatomic origin of the cell being investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5418-5426
Number of pages9
Issue number20
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Biomimetic material
  • Cell morphology
  • Cell proliferation
  • ECM
  • Endothelial cell
  • Nanotopography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Biophysics


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