Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview

The influence of mechanical forces generated by stromal cells in the perivascular matrix is thought to be a key regulator in controlling blood vessel growth. Cadherins are mechanosensors that facilitate and maintain cell-cell interactions and blood vessel integrity, but little is known about how stromal cells regulate cadherin signaling in the vasculature. Our objective was to investigate the relationship between mechanical phenotypes of stromal cells with cadherin expression in 3D tissue engineering models of vascular growth. Stromal cell lines were subjected to a bead displacement assay to track matrix distortions and characterize mechanical phenotypes in 3D microtissue models. These cells included human ventricular cardiac (NHCF), dermal (NHDF), lung (NHLF), breast cancer-associated (CAF), and normal breast fibroblasts (NBF). Cells were embedded in a fibrin matrix (10mg/mL) with fluorescent tracker beads; images were collected every 30min. We also studied endothelial cells (ECs) in co-culture with mechanically-active or -inactive stromal cells and quantified N-Cad, OB-Cad, and VE-Cad expression using immunofluorescence. Bead displacement studies identified mechanically-active stromal cells (CAFs, NHCFs, NHDFs) that generate matrix distortions and mechanically-inactive cells (NHLFs, NBFs). Compared to ECs only, CAFs + ECs as well as NBFs + ECs in 3D co-culture significantly decreased expression of VE-Cad; in addition, the Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient for N-Cad and VE-Cad showed a strong correlation (>0.7), suggesting cadherin colocalization. Using a microtissue model, we demonstrated that mechanical phenotypes associated with increased matrix deformations correspond to enhanced angiogenic growth. The results could suggest a mechanism to control tight junction regulation in developing vascular beds for tissue engineering scaffolds or understanding vascular growth during developmental processes. Our studies provide novel data for how mechanical phenotype of stromal cells in combination with secreted factor profiles is related to cadherin regulation, localization, and vascularization potential in 3D microtissue models.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.