Endothelial cell seeding of (heparinized) collagen matrices: effects of bFGF pre-loading on proliferation (after low density seeding) and pro-coagulant factors

M.J.B. Wissink, R. Beernink, N.M. Scharenborg, A.A. Poot, G.H.M. Engbers, T. Beugeling, W.G. van Aken, J. Feijen

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Endothelial cell seeding to improve the performance of small-diameter vascular grafts requires a suitable substrate, such as crosslinked collagen. In addition to providing a suitable substrate for adhesion and growth of endothelial cells, proliferation of seeded endothelial cells can be enhanced by local, sustained release of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF, a heparin-binding growth factor for endothelial cells). We have previously shown that collagen crosslinked using N-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-N′-ethylcarbodiimide (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) supports adhesion and proliferation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). In the present study, HUVECs were seeded on (heparinized) EDC/NHS-crosslinked collagen, pre-loaded with bFGF. Proliferation of HUVECs on (heparinized) crosslinked collagen increased with increasing amounts of pre-loaded bFGF. The minimal cell-seeding density required for proliferation proved to be very low after pre-loading the substrates with bFGF, and was 4-fold lower for heparinized crosslinked collagen compared to crosslinked collagen (250 versus 1000 cells/cm2). Pro-coagulant properties (von Willebrand factor secretion and tissue factor expression) of HUVECs seeded on (heparinized) crosslinked collagen, with or without pre-loading of bFGF, were comparable to those of HUVECs on TCPS. It is concluded that heparinized, EDC/NHS-crosslinked collagen pre-loaded with bFGF is a candidate matrix for in vivo endothelial cell seeding of synthetic vascular graft materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-155
JournalJournal of controlled release
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Sustained release
  • Vascular grafts
  • Endothelial cell seeding
  • Heparin immobilization
  • Growth factors

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