The use of micropatterning to control smooth muscle myosin heavy chain expression and limit the response to transforming growth factor β1 in vascular smooth muscle cells.
In the healthy artery, contractile vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) have an elongated shape and are highly aligned but transition to a synthetic phenotype in culture, while additionally becoming well spread and randomly organized. Thus, controlling VSMC phenotype is a challenge in tissue engineering. In this study, we investigated the effects of micropatterning on contractile protein expression in VSMCs at low and high passage and in the presence of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1). Micropatterning led to significantly decreased cell area, increased elongation, and increased alignment compared to non-patterned VSMCs independent of passage number. In the presence of serum, micropatterning led to increased smooth muscle myosin heavy chain (SM-MHC) and α-actin expression in low passage VSMCs, but had no effect on high passage VSMCs. Micropatterning was as effective as TGFβ1 in up-regulating SM-MHC at low passage; however, micropatterning limited VSMC response to TGFβ1 at both low and high passage. Investigation of TGFβ receptor 1 revealed higher expression in non-patterned VSMCs compared to patterned at high passage. Our studies demonstrate that micropatterning is an important regulator of SM-MHC expression in contractile VSMCs and that it may provide a mechanism for phenotype stabilization in the presence of growth factors.
Williams, C; Brown, XQ; Bartolak-Suki, E; Ma, H; Chilkoti, A; Wong, JY
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