Lindsay Gray


Sickle cell anemia, malaria, and cancer are a few of the deadly diseases that utilize blood vessels as a means of migration throughout the body. Adhesion of harmful cells to the endothelial lining of the circulatory system is an integral step in the metastasis of blood borne diseases. As a result of shear stress produced by blood flow through veins and arteries, the endothelium undergoes a distinct morphological change resulting in a more elongated and unidirectional morphology. It has recently been suggested that such changes in cell morphology can affect surface expression profiles, which in turn affects cell-cell binding and interaction to the endothelial wall. Currently, most researchers are using in vitro flow models or static well-plates to culture endothelial cells. However, traditional in vitro flow systems take approximately 24 hours to obtain a valid morphology, and static well plate studies result in cobblestone morphology more random in orientation than in vivo endothelial cells. In this study, we are investigating the use of micropatterned glass surfaces to statically culture human vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in the desired elongated and unidirectional morphology and this system’s effects on surface chemistry of the HUVECs. Microscopy and flow cytometry were used to compare the morphology and surface expression of HUVECs grown on control blank slides, on micropatterned grooves, and under flow conditions. HUVECs cultured on micropatterned grooves demonstrated the desired elongated and unidirectional morphology. Morphology analysis showed that HUVECs cultured on micropatterned grooves were statistically more elongated and unidirectional than HUVECs cultured on control blank slides.