Endothelial cell alignment on cyclically-stretched silicone surfaces

M. Moretti, A. Prina-Mello, A. J. Reid, V. Barron, P. J. Prendergast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endothelial cells at the interface between the bloodstream and the vessel wall are continuously subjected to mechanical stimulation in vivo, and it widely recognised that such stimulation plays an important role in cardiovascular physiology. Cell deformation is induced by mechanical forces such as cyclic stretch, fluid shear stress, and transmural pressure. Although much of the work in this field has dealt with the effect of fluid shear stress, very little is known about how cyclic forces modulate and alter the morphology of single endothelial cells, and thereafter, how they effect the confluent layer of endothelial cells lining the vessel wall. The aim of this study is to investigate the response of endothelial cells when subjected to substrate deformation of similar magnitude to those experienced in vivo. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were cultured on plasma-treated silicone strips and uni-axially cyclically stretched using a custom made mechanical device. Results showed that endothelial cells subject to 10% deformation for as little as 4 h reoriented perpendicular to the stretch direction. In addition, although no integrin coating was applied to the substrate, it was found that plasma-treated silicone provided a cell adhesion substrate comparable to the commonly used collagen type I. Thus the results show that the stretch stimulus alone affects the morphology of endothelial cells. Further studies are required to establish the relative importance of substrate strain vs. fluid flow stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1159-1164
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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