Spatial patterning of endothelium modulates cell morphology, adhesiveness and transcriptional signature

Ngan F. Huang, Edwina S. Lai, Alexandre J.S. Ribeiro, Stephen Pan, Beth L. Pruitt, Gerald G. Fuller, John P. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Microscale and nanoscale structures can spatially pattern endothelial cells (ECs) into parallel-aligned organization, mimicking their cellular alignment in blood vessels exposed to laminar shear stress. However, the effects of spatial patterning on the function and global transcriptome of ECs are incompletely characterized. We used both parallel-aligned micropatterned and nanopatterned biomaterials to evaluate the effects of spatial patterning on the phenotype of ECs, based on gene expression profiling, functional characterization of monocyte adhesion, and quantification of cellular morphology. We demonstrate that both micropatterned and aligned nanofibrillar biomaterials could effectively guide EC organization along the direction of the micropatterned channels or nanofibrils, respectively. The ability of ECs to sense spatial patterning cues were abrogated in the presence of cytoskeletal disruption agents. Moreover, both micropatterned and aligned nanofibrillar substrates promoted an athero-resistant EC phenotype by reducing endothelial adhesiveness for monocytes and platelets, as well as by downregulating the expression of adhesion proteins and chemokines. We further found that micropatterned ECs have a transcriptional signature that is unique from non-patterned ECs, as well as from ECs aligned by shear stress. These findings highlight the importance of spatial patterning cues in guiding EC organization and function, which may have clinical relevance in the development of vascular grafts that promote patency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2928-2937
Number of pages10
Issue number12
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Cell morphology
  • Endothelium
  • Micropatterning
  • Monocyte
  • Nanotopography
  • Vascular graft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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