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Acta Biomater. 2013 Mar;9(3):5643-52. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2012.10.029. Epub 2012 Oct 29.

Endothelialization of chitosan porous conduits via immobilization of a recombinant fibronectin fragment (rhFNIII7-10).

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  • 1INEB - Instituto de Engenharia Biomédica, Universidade do Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre, 823, 4150-180 Porto, Portugal.


The present study aimed to develop a pre-endothelialized chitosan (CH) porous hollowed scaffold for application in spinal cord regenerative therapies. CH conduits with different degrees of acetylation (DA; 4% and 15%) were prepared, characterized (microstructure, porosity and water uptake) and functionalized with a recombinant fragment of human fibronectin (rhFNIII(7-10)). Immobilized rhFNIII(7-10) was characterized in terms of amount ((125)I-radiolabelling), exposure of cell-binding domains (immunofluorescence) and ability to mediate endothelial cell (EC) adhesion and cytoskeletal rearrangement. Functionalized conduits revealed a linear increase in immobilized rhFNIII(7-10) with rhFNIII(7-10) concentration, and, for the same concentration, higher amounts of rhFNIII(7-10) on DA 4% compared with DA 15%. Moreover, rhFNIII(7-10) concentrations as low as 5 and 20μg ml(-1) in the coupling reaction were shown to provide DA 4% and 15% scaffolds, respectively, with levels of exposed cell-binding domains exceeding those observed on the control (DA 4% scaffolds incubated in a 20μg ml(-1) human fibronectin solution). These grafting conditions proved to be effective in mediating EC adhesion/cytoskeletal organization on CH with DA 4% and 15%, without affecting the endothelial angiogenic potential. rhFNIII(7-10) grafting to CH could be a strategy of particular interest in tissue engineering applications requiring the use of endothelialized porous matrices with tunable degradation rates.

Copyright © 2012 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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