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Acta Biomater. 2014 Jul;10(7):3091-7. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2014.03.010. Epub 2014 Mar 18.

Effects of hydroxyapatite on endothelial network formation in collagen/fibrin composite hydrogels in vitro and in vivo.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1101 Beal Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1101 Beal Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. Electronic address:


Co-culture of endothelial cells (EC) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) results in robust vascular network formation in constrained 3-D collagen/fibrin (COL/FIB) composite hydrogels. However, the ability to form endothelial networks is lost when such gels are allowed to compact via cell-mediated remodeling. In this study, we created co-cultures of human EC and human MSC in both constrained and unconstrained COL/FIB matrices and systematically added nanoparticulate hydroxyapatite (HA, 0-20 mg ml(-1)), a bone-like mineral that has been shown to have pro-vasculogenic effects. Constructs cultured for 7 days were assayed for gel compaction, vascular network formation, and mechanical properties. In vitro, robust endothelial network formation was observed in constrained COL/FIB constructs without HA, but this response was significantly inhibited by addition of 5, 10, or 20 mg ml(-1) HA. In unconstrained matrices, network formation was abolished in pure COL/FIB constructs but was rescued by 1.25 or 2.5 mg ml(-1) HA, while higher levels again inhibited vasculogenesis. HA inhibited gel compaction in a dose-dependent manner, which was not correlated to endothelial network formation. HA affected initial stiffness of the gels, but gel remodeling abrogated this effect. Subcutaneous implantation of COL/FIB with 0, 2.5 or 2 0mg ml(-1) HA in the mouse resulted in increased perfusion at the implant site, with no significant differences between materials. Histology at day 7 showed both host and human CD31-stained vasculature infiltrating the implants. These findings are relevant to the design of materials and scaffolds for orthopedic tissue engineering, where both vasculogenesis and formation of a mineral phase are required for regeneration.


Collagen; Fibrin; Hydroxyapatite; In vivo; Vasculogenesis

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