Biomimetic hydrogels with pro-angiogenic properties

Biomaterials. 2010 May;31(14):3840-7. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.01.104. Epub 2010 Feb 24.


To achieve the task of fabricating functional tissues, scaffold materials that can be sufficiently vascularized to mimic functionality and complexity of native tissues are yet to be developed. Here, we report development of synthetic, biomimetic hydrogels that allow the rapid formation of a stable and mature vascular network both in vitro and in vivo. Hydrogels were fabricated with integrin binding sites and protease-sensitive substrates to mimic the natural provisional extracellular matrices, and endothelial cells cultured in these hydrogels organized into stable, intricate networks of capillary-like structures. The resulting structures were further stabilized by recruitment of mesenchymal progenitor cells that differentiated into a smooth muscle cell lineage and deposited collagen IV and laminin in vitro. In addition, hydrogels transplanted into mouse corneas were infiltrated with host vasculature, resulting in extensive vascularization with functional blood vessels. These results indicate that these hydrogels may be useful for applications in basic biological research, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomimetic Materials / pharmacology*
  • Blood Vessels / drug effects
  • Blood Vessels / growth & development
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Lineage / drug effects
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Cornea / blood supply
  • Cornea / drug effects
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / chemistry
  • Hydrogels / pharmacology*
  • Materials Testing
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Video
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / cytology
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / drug effects
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Umbilical Veins / cytology


  • Hydrogels