The role of substratum compliance of hydrogels on vascular endothelial cell behavior

Joshua Wood, Nihar M. Shah, Clayton T. McKee, Marissa L. Hughbanks, Sara J. Liliensiek, Paul Russell, Christopher J Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains a leading cause of death both within the United States (US) as well as globally. In 2006 alone, over one-third of all deaths in the US were attributable to CVD. The high prevalence, mortality, morbidity, and socioeconomic impact of CVD has motivated a significant research effort; however, there remain significant knowledge gaps regarding disease onset and progression as well as pressing needs for improved therapeutic approaches. One critical area of research that has received limited attention is the role of biophysical cues on the modulation of endothelial cell behaviors; specifically, the impact of local compliance, or the stiffness, of the surrounding vascular endothelial extracellular matrix. In this study, the impact of substratum compliance on the modulation of cell behaviors of several human primary endothelial cell types, representing different anatomic sites and differentiation states in vivo, were investigated. Substrates used within our studies span the range of compliance that has been reported for the vascular endothelial basement membrane. Differences in substratum compliance had a profound impact on cell attachment, spreading, elongation, proliferation, and migration. In addition, each cell population responded differentially to changes in substratum compliance, documenting endothelial heterogeneity in the response to biophysical cues. These results demonstrate the importance of incorporating substratum compliance in the design of in vitro experiments as well as future prosthetic design. Alterations in vascular substratum compliance directly influence endothelial cell behavior and may participate in the onset and/or progression of CVDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5056-5064
Number of pages9
Issue number22
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Biomimetic material
  • Bioprosthesis
  • Cell viability
  • Compliance
  • Endothelial cell
  • Vascular grafts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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