Deposition of cellular fibronectin and desorption of human serum albumin during adhesion and spreading of human endothelial cells on polymers

A. Dekker, T. Beugeling, H. Wind, A. Poot, A. Bantjes, J. Feijen, W.G. van Aken

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More insight into the mechanism of adhesion of human endothelial cells (HEC) on to polymeric surfaces may lead to the development of improved small-diameter vascular grafts. HEC suspended in 20% human serum-containing culture medium adhere and spread well on moderately water-wettable polymers such as tissue culture polystyrene (TCPS). Earlier it was demonstrated that during adhesion and spreading of HEC on TCPS, cellular fibronectin is deposited on to this surface. It was postulated that fibronectin deposition is accompanied by desorption of adsorbed serum proteins, e.g. human serum albumin (HSA). The amounts of adsorbed (cellular) fibronectin and HSA on TCPS surfaces pretreated for 1 h with solutions of human serum (ranging from 0.01%–20%), were determined after incubation of these surfaces for 6 h with HEC in culture medium and after incubation with culture medium without cells. Protein adsorption was determined by means of a two-step enzyme-immunoassay (EIA). HEC adhesion and spreading on TCPS resulted in a significant deposition of fibronectin irrespective of the serum concentration in the solution used for the pretreatment of TCPS. The deposition of cellular fibronectin on to TCPS, pretreated with human serum, was accompanied by displacement of adsorbed HSA. Desorption of HSA from TCPS was only detectable with the EIA at serum concentrations ranging from 0.01%–1%. Using131-l-labelled HSA as tracer protein; it could, however, be demonstrated that HSA was also displaced from TCPS, pretreated with solutions of higher serum concentrations. Pretreatment of the hydrophobic vascular graft material PET (poly(ethylene terephthalate); Dacron) and of FEP (fluoroethylenepropylene copolymer; a Teflon-like polymer) with a solution containing 20% human serum resulted in a reduced adhesion of HEC compared to uncoated surfaces. We suggest that this may be caused by a poor displacement of adsorbed serum proteins from these hydrophobic surfaces by cellular fibronectin. This may explain why HEC normally fail to adhere on to prosthetic surfaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • METIS-105340
  • IR-85768


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