Functionalization of Endothelial Cells with Polymeric Microparticles
Endothelial cells are the major cellular component of vasculature. These cells can organize and orient during vascularization to form new functional capillaries and blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. Controlling endothelial cells fate can directly optimize angiogenesis and subsequently can enhance vascularization both in physiological and pathophysiological condition. However, ability to control endothelial cells fate during angiogenesis still remains a significant challenge. Use of genetic engineering or growth factors has shown some improvement to regulate endothelial cells but there are significant challenges. Herein we describe a non-genetic and non- chemical approach to engineer cells with an intracellular tool, polymeric microparticles, which can be used for controlling cells fate via exocrine secretion, intracrine like mechanism. Specifically, we show that human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) can be engineered with poly lactide-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) microparticles containing vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF), which can stimulate vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. The controlled release of VEGF from these microparticles engineered cells can sustain release growth factors through intracellular and extracellular ways to promote differentiation of particle-carrying cells, neighboring cells and distant cells that do not have particles.