The construction of well-controllable in vitro models of physiological and pathological vascular endothelium remains a fundamental challenge in tissue engineering and drug development. Here, we present an approach for forming a synthetic endothelial extracellular matrix (ECM) that closely resembles that of the native structure by locally depositing basement membrane materials onto type 1 collagen nanofibers only in a region adjacent to the endothelial cell (EC) monolayer. Culturing the EC monolayer on this synthetic endothelial ECM remarkably enhanced its physiological properties, reducing its vascular permeability, and promoting a stabilized, quiescent phenotype. We demonstrated that the EC monolayer on the synthetic endothelial ECM neither creates non-physiological barriers to cell-cell or cell-ECM interactions, nor hinders molecular diffusion of growth factors and other molecules. The synthetic endothelial ECM and vascular endothelium on it may help us enter in a new phase of research in which various models of the biological barrier behavior can be tested experimentally.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Pioneer Research Center Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (MSIP, NRF-2015M3C1A3002152) and by BioNano Health-Guard Research Center funded by the MSIP of Korea as Global Frontier Project (H-GUARD_2014M3A6B2060524). S.H. was supported by the NRF (NRF-2014R1A6A3A03059012) & J.S.J. was supported by the Climate Change Research Hub of KAIST (Grant No. N01150746).
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