The promotion of in vitro vessel-like organization of endothelial cells in magnetically responsive alginate scaffolds

Yulia Sapir, Smadar Cohen, Gary Friedman, Boris Polyak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the major challenges in engineering thick, complex tissues such as cardiac muscle, is the need to pre-vascularize the engineered tissue in vitro to enable its efficient integration with host tissue upon implantation. Herein, we explored new magnetic alginate composite scaffolds to provide means of physical stimulation to cells. Magnetite-impregnated alginate scaffolds seeded with aortic endothelial cells stimulated during the first 7 days out of a total 14 day experimental course showed significantly elevated metabolic activity during the stimulation period. Expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) indicated that magnetically stimulated cells had a lower proliferation index as compared to the non-stimulated cells. This suggests that the elevated metabolic activity could instead be related to cell migration and re-organization. Immunostaining and confocal microscopy analyses supported this observation showing that on day 14 in magnetically stimulated scaffolds without supplementation of any growth factors, cellular vessel-like (loop) structures, known as indicators of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis were formed as compared to cell sheets or aggregates observed in the non-stimulated (control) scaffolds. This work is the first step in our understanding of how to accurately control cellular organization to form tissue engineered constructs, which together with additional molecular signals could lead to a creation of an efficient pre-vascularized tissue construct with potential applicability for transplantation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4100-4109
Number of pages10
Issue number16
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • Alginate scaffold
  • Endothelial cell organization
  • Magnetic nanoparticles
  • Magneto-mechanical cell stimulation
  • Vessel-like structures

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


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