Endothelial cell colonization and angiogenic potential of combined nano- and micro-fibrous scaffolds for bone tissue engineering

Biomaterials. 2008 Nov;29(32):4306-13. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.07.033. Epub 2008 Aug 15.


Presently the majority of tissue engineering approaches aimed at regenerating bone relies only on post-implantation vascularization. Strategies that include seeding endothelial cells (ECs) on biomaterials and promoting their adhesion, migration and functionality might be a solution for the formation of vascularized bone. Nano/micro-fiber-combined scaffolds have an innovative structure, inspired by extracellular matrix (ECM) that combines a nano-network, aimed to promote cell adhesion, with a micro-fiber mesh that provides the mechanical support. In this work we addressed the influence of this nano-network on growth pattern, morphology, inflammatory expression profile, expression of structural proteins, homotypic interactions and angiogenic potential of human EC cultured on a scaffold made of a blend of starch and poly(caprolactone). The nano-network allowed cells to span between individual micro-fibers and influenced cell morphology. Furthermore, on nano-fibers as well as on micro-fibers ECs maintained the physiological expression pattern of the structural protein vimentin and PECAM-1 between adjacent cells. In addition, ECs growing on the nano/micro-fiber-combined scaffold were sensitive to pro-inflammatory stimulus. Under pro-angiogenic conditions in vitro, the ECM-like nano-network provided the structural and organizational stability for ECs' migration and organization into capillary-like structures. The architecture of nano/micro-fiber-combined scaffolds elicited and guided the 3D distribution of ECs without compromising the structural requirements for bone regeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone and Bones / cytology*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic*
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Vimentin / metabolism


  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Vimentin