Vascularization and gene regulation of human endothelial cells growing on porous polyethersulfone (PES) hollow fiber membranes

Ronald E. Unger, Kirsten Peters, Quan Huang, Andreas Funk, Dieter Paul, C. J. Kirkpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Open-cell hollow fibers made of polyethersulfone (PES) manufactured in the absence of solvents with pore diameters smaller than 100 μm were examined for vascularization by human endothelial cells. The goal of this study was to determine whether the 3-D porous character of the PES surface affected human endothelial cell morphology and functions. Freshly isolated human endothelial cells from the skin (HDMEC), from the lung (HPMEC) and from umbilical cords (HUVEC) and two human endothelial cell lines, HPMEC-ST1.6R and ISO-HAS.c1 were added to PES fibers and cell adherence and growth was followed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Prior coating of PES with gelatin or fibronectin was necessary for adhesion and spreading of cells over the uneven porous surface with time. Confluent cells exhibited typical strong PECAM-1 expression at cell-cell borders. Little expression of the activation markers E-selectin, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1 was observed by RT-PCR of endothelial cells growing on PES. However, after stimulation for 4 h by LPS, activation of these markers was observed and it was shown by immunofluorescent staining that induction occurred in most of the cells, thus confirming an intact functionality. Finally, cells growing as a monolayer on PES migrated to form microvessel-like structures when placed under conditions that stimulated angiogenesis. Thus, human endothelial cells grown on fibronectin-coated PES fibers retain important endothelial-cell specific morphological and functional properties and PES may serve as a useful biomaterial in tissue engineering and biotechnology applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3461-3469
Number of pages9
Issue number17
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell compatibility
  • Endothelial cell
  • Gene regulation
  • PES
  • Polyethersulfone
  • Vascularization


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