Manipulation of the response of human endothelial colony-forming cells by focal adhesion assembly using gradient nanopattern plates

Long Hui Cui, Hyung Joon Joo, Dae Hwan Kim, Ha Rim Seo, Jung Suk Kim, Seung Cheol Choi, Li Hua Huang, Ji Eun Na, I. Rang Lim, Jong Ho Kim, Im Joo Rhyu, Soon Jun Hong, Kyu Back Lee, Do Sun Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Nanotopography plays a pivotal role in the regulation of cellular responses. Nonetheless, little is known about how the gradient size of nanostructural stimuli alters the responses of endothelial progenitor cells without chemical factors. Herein, the fabrication of gradient nanopattern plates intended to mimic microenvironment nanotopography is described. The gradient nanopattern plates consist of nanopillars of increasing diameter ranges [120–200 nm (GP 120/200), 200–280 nm (GP 200/280), and 280–360 nm (GP 280/360)] that were used to screen the responses of human endothelial colony-forming cells (hECFCs). Nanopillars with a smaller nanopillar diameter caused the cell area and perimeter of hECFCs to decrease and their filopodial outgrowth to increase. The structure of vinculin (a focal adhesion marker in hECFCs) was also modulated by nanostructural stimuli of the gradient nanopattern plates. Moreover, Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) gene expression was significantly higher in hECFCs cultured on GP 120/200 than in those on flat plates (no nanopillars), and ROCK suppression impaired the nanostructural-stimuli-induced vinculin assembly. These results suggest that the gradient nanopattern plates generate size-specific nanostructural stimuli suitable for manipulation of the response of hECFCs, in a process dependent on ROCK signaling. This is the first evidence of size-specific nanostructure-sensing behavior of hECFCs. Significance Nano feature surfaces are of growing interest as materials for a controlled response of various cells. In this study, we successfully fabricated gradient nanopattern plates to manipulate the response of blood-derived hECFCs without any chemical stimulation. Interestingly, we find that the sensitive nanopillar size for manipulation of hECFCs is range between 120 nm and 200 nm, which decreased the area and increased the filopodial outgrowth of hECFCs. Furthermore, we only modulate the nanopillar size to increase ROCK expression can be an attractive method for modulating the cytoskeletal integrity and focal adhesion of hECFCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-282
Number of pages11
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) [NRF- 2015R1D1A1A01060397 ] and Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the NRF funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning [NRF- 2017M3A9C6029563 ]. The authors would like to thank Lisa Im, Ji Da Bae, and collaborators who have contributed to our ongoing research in this interesting and important subject area.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Acta Materialia Inc.


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Focal adhesion
  • Gradient nanopattern plates
  • Human endothelial colony-forming cells
  • Rho-associated protein kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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