Azopolymer photopatterning for directional control of angiogenesis
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Scientific › peer-review
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2017|
|Publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
Understanding cellular behavior in response to microenvironmental stimuli is central to tissue engineering. An increasing number of reports emphasize the high sensitivity of cells to the physical characteristics of the surrounding milieu and in particular, topographical cues. In this work, we investigated the influence of dynamic topographic signal presentation on sprout formation and the possibility to obtain a space–time control over sprouting directionality without growth factors, in order to investigate the contribution of just topography in the angiogenic process. To test our hypothesis, we employed a 3D angiogenesis assay based on the use of spheroids derived from human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). We then modulated the in situ presentation of topographical cues during early-stage angiogenesis through real-time photopatterning of an azobenzene-containing polymer, poly (Disperse Red 1 methacrylate) (pDR1m). Pattern inscription on the polymer surface was made using the focused laser of a confocal microscope. We demonstrate that during early-stage angiogenesis, sprouts followed the pattern direction, while spheroid cores acquired a polarized shape. These findings confirmed that sprout directionality was influenced by the photo-inscribed pattern, probably through contact guidance of leader cells, thus validating the proposed platform as a valuable tool for understanding complex processes involved in cell-topography interactions in multicellular systems. Statement of Significance The complex relationship between endothelial cells and the surrounding environment that leads to formation of a newly formed vascular network during tissue repair is currently unknown. We have developed an innovative in vitro platform to study these mechanisms in a space and time controlled fashion simulating what happens during regeneration. In particular, we combine a “smart” surface, namely a polymer film, with a three-dimensional living cell aggregate. The polymer is activated by light through which we can design a path to guide cells toward the formation of a new vessel. Our work lies at the intersection of stimuli-responsive biointerfaces and cell biology and may be particularly inspiring for those interested in designing biomaterial surface related to angiogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Angiogenesis, Azopolymers, Directional sprouting, Photopatterning, Topographical cues