Oxidized Low-Density Lipoprotein Alters the Effect of Matrix Stiffness on the Formation of Endothelial Networks and Capillary Lumens


Formation of new blood vessels is essential for vascular repair and remodeling, and it is known that biomechanical properties of extracellular matrix play a major role in this process. Our earlier studies have also shown that exposing endothelial cells to oxidized modification of low-density lipoproteins (oxLDL) increases endothelial stiffness and facilitates their ability to form cellular networks, suggesting that it facilitates endothelial angiogenic potential. The goal of this study, therefore, was to test the interrelationship between matrix stiffness and oxLDL in the regulation of angiogenesis. Our results show that, as expected, an increase in matrix stiffness inhibited endothelial network formation and that exposure to oxLDL significantly facilitated this process. We also show, however, that oxLDL-induced facilitation of endothelial networks was observed only in stiff (3 mg/mL) but not in soft (1 mg/mL) collagen gels, resulting in blunting the effect of matrix stiffness. Also unexpectedly, we show that an increase in matrix stiffness results in a significant increase in the number of capillary lumens that are formed by single cells or pairs of cells, suggesting that while endothelial connectivity is impaired, formation of single-cell lumens is facilitated. oxLDL facilitates lumen formation, but this effect is also matrix dependent and is observed only in soft gels and not in stiff gels. Finally, an increase in both matrix stiffness and oxLDL exposure results in changes in capillary morphology, with the formation of larger capillary lumens. Overall, our study suggests that oxLDL plays an important role in formation of new capillaries and their morphology and that this effect is critically dependent on the extracellular environment's compliance, thereby underlining the importance of the interdependence of these parameters.

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Cell Biochemistry and Metabolism, Differentiation and Proliferation, Structure and Function, interactions
Endothelin and Endothelium & Epithelium and Epithelial Transport
Matrix Metalloproteinases: Cellular and Molecular Aspects


Madhu S. Gundavaram, Tzu Pin Shentu, Gregory B. Kowalsky, Suncica Volkov, Dean E. Schraufnagel, Irena Levitan

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Pulmonary Circulation Vol 3: No 3 cover image

September 2013

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 3: No 3

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