Colloidal Gels with Tunable Mechanomorphology Regulate Endothelial Morphogenesis

Smruti K. Nair, Sukanya Basu, Ballari Sen, Meng-Hsuan Lin, Arati N. Kumar, Yuan Yuan, Paul J. Cullen, Debanjan Sarkar
2019 Scientific Reports  
Endothelial morphogenesis into capillary networks is dependent on the matrix morphology and mechanical properties. In current 3D gels, these two matrix features are interdependent and their distinct roles in endothelial organization are not known. Thus, it is important to decouple these parameters in the matrix design. Colloidal gels can be engineered to regulate the microstructural morphology and mechanics in an independent manner because colloidal gels are formed by the aggregation of
more » ... s into a self-similar 3D network. In this work, gelatin based colloidal gels with distinct mechanomorphology were developed by engineering the electrostatic interaction mediated aggregation of particles. By altering the mode of aggregation, colloidal gels showed either compact dense microstructure or tenuous strand-like networks, and the matrix stiffness was controlled independently by varying the particle fraction. Endothelial Cell (EC) networks were favored in tenuous strand-like microstructure through increased cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions, while compact dense microstructure inhibited the networks. For a given microstructure, as the gel stiffness was increased, the extent of EC network was reduced. This result demonstrates that 3D matrix morphology and mechanics provide distinct signals in a bidirectional manner during EC network formation. Colloidal gels can be used to interrogate the angiogenic responses of ECs and can be developed as a biomaterial for vascularization.
doi:10.1038/s41598-018-37788-w pmid:30705322 pmcid:PMC6355882 fatcat:owl7ztvtarfazdfs2esleautyi