Tissue engineering therapies require biomaterials capable of encouraging an angiogenic response. To dissect the influence of different pro-angiogenic stimuli a set of starPEG-heparin hydrogels with varied physicochemical properties was used as a highly efficient reservoir and tunable delivery system for basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The engineered gel materials could be precisely tailored by decoupling the biomolecular functionalization from the variation of the viscoelastic matrix characteristics. Culture experiments with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) revealed the interplay of growth factor presentation, adhesive characteristics and elasticity of the gel matrices in triggering differential cellular behavior which allowed identifying effective pro-angiogenic conditions.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.