Bioimpacts. 2017;7(1): 41-47.
doi: 10.15171/bi.2017.06
PMID: 28546952
PMCID: PMC5439388
Scopus ID: 85019162370
WOSID: 000401836400006
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Original Research

Time dependency of morphological remodeling of endothelial cells in response to substrate stiffness

Zahra Goli-Malekabadi 1, Mohammad Tafazzoli-shadpour 1*, Ali Tamayol 2*, Ehsan Seyedjafari 3

1 Biomedical Engineering Department, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, USA
3 Department of Biotechnology, College of Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Substrate stiffness regulates cellular behavior as cells experience different stiffness values of tissues in the body. For example, endothelial cells (ECs) covering the inner layer of blood vessels are exposed to different stiffness values due to various pathologic and physiologic conditions. Despite numerous studies, cells by time span sense mechanical properties of the substrate, but the response is not well understood. We hypothesized that time is a major determinant influencing the behavior of cells seeded on substrates of varying stiffness.
Methods: We monitored cell spreading, internal structure, 3D topography, and the viability of ECs over 24 hours of culture on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates with two different degrees of elastic modulus.
Results: Despite significant differences in cell spreading after cell seeding, cells showed a similar shape and internal structure after 24 hours of culture on both soft and stiff substrates. However, 3D topographical images confirmed existence of rich lamellipodia and filopodia around the cells cultured on stiffer PDMS substrates.
Conclusion: It was concluded that the response of ECs to the substrate stiffness was time dependent with initial enhanced cellular spreading and viability on stiffer substrates. Results can provide a better comprehension of cell mechanotransduction for tissue engineering applications.   
Keywords: Time dependency, HUVECs, Substrate stiffness, Morphology, 3D topography
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Submitted: 02 Oct 2016
Revision: 15 Jan 2017
Accepted: 08 Feb 2017
ePublished: 05 Mar 2017
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