Evaluation of Late Outgrowth Endothelial Progenitor Cell and Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cell Responses to Thromboresistant Collagen-Mimetic Hydrogels

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Bioactive coatings which support the adhesion of late-outgrowth peripheral blood endothelial progenitor cells (EOCs) are actively being investigated as a means to promote rapid endothelialization of “off-the-shelf,” small-caliber arterial graft prostheses following implantation. In the present work, we evaluated the behavior of EOCs on thromboresistant graft coatings based on the collagen-mimetic protein Scl2-2 and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) diacrylate. Specifically, the attachment, proliferation, migration, and phenotype of EOCs on PEG-Scl2-2 hydrogels were evaluated as a function of Scl2-2 concentration (4, 8, and 12 mg/mL) relative to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Results demonstrate the ability of each PEG-Scl2-2 hydrogel formulation to support EOC and HUVEC adhesion, proliferation, and spreading. However, only the 8 and 12 mg/mL PEG-Scl2-2 hydrogels were able to support stable EOC and HUVEC confluence. These PEG-Scl2-2 formulations were, therefore, selected for evaluation of their impact on EOC and HUVEC phenotype relative to PEG-collagen hydrogels. Cumulatively, both gene and protein level data indicated that 8 mg/mL PEG-Scl2-2 hydrogels supported similar or improved levels of EOC maturation relative to PEG-collagen controls based on evaluation of CD34, VEGFR2, PECAM-1, and VE-Cadherin. The 8 mg/mL PEG-Scl2-2 hydrogels also appeared to support similar or improved levels of EOC homeostatic marker expression relative to PEG-collagen hydrogels based on von Willebrand factor, collagen IV, NOS3, thrombomodulin, and E-selectin assessment. Combined, the present results indicate that PEG-Scl2-2 hydrogels warrant further investigation as “off-the-shelf” graft coatings.

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John Wiley and Sons Inc.

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Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A