Oriented matrix promotes directional tubulogenesis

Patricia A. Soucy, Maria Hoh, Will Heinz, Jan Hoh, Lewis Romer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Detailed control over the structural organization of scaffolds and engineered tissue constructs is a critical need in the quest to engineer functional tissues using biomaterials. This work presents a new approach to spatially direct endothelial tubulogenesis. Micropatterned fibronectin substrates were used to control lung fibroblast adhesion and growth and the subsequent deposition of fibroblast-derived matrix during culture. The fibroblast-derived matrix produced on the micropatterned substrates was tightly oriented by these patterns, with an average variation of only 8.5°. Further, regions of this oriented extracellular matrix provided directional control of developing endothelial tubes to within 10° of the original micropatterned substrate design. Endothelial cells seeded directly onto the micropatterned substrate did not form tubes. A metric for matrix anisotropy showed a relationship between the fibroblast-derived matrix and the endothelial tubes that were subsequently developed on the same micropatterns with a resulting aspect ratio over 1.5 for endothelial tubulogenesis. Micropatterns in "L" and "Y" shapes were used to direct endothelial tubes to turn and branch with the same level of precision. These data demonstrate that anisotropic fibroblast-derived matrices instruct the alignment and shape of endothelial tube networks, thereby introducing an approach that could be adapted for future design of microvascular implants featuring organ-specific natural matrix that patterns microvascular growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-273
Number of pages10
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Anisotropy
  • Endothelial morphogenesis
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Micropattern substrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Oriented matrix promotes directional tubulogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this