QHREDGS enhances tube formation, metabolism and survival of endothelial cells in collagen-chitosan hydrogels.

Miklas JW, Dallabrida SM, Reis LA, Ismail N, Rupnick M, Radisic M.
Source: PLoS ONE
Publication Date: (2013)
Issue: 8(8): e72956
Research Area:
Basic Research
Cells used in publication:
Endothelial, MV dermal, human adult
Species: human
Tissue Origin: dermal
Cell survival in complex, vascularized tissues, has been implicated as a major bottleneck in advancement of therapies based on cardiac tissue engineering. This limitation motivates the search for small, inexpensive molecules that would simultaneously be cardio-protective and vasculogenic. Here, we present peptide sequence QHREDGS, based upon the fibrinogen-like domain of angiopoietin-1, as a prime candidate molecule. We demonstrated previously that QHREDGS improved cardiomyocyte metabolism and mitigated serum starved apoptosis. In this paper we further demonstrate the potency of QHREDGS in its ability to enhance endothelial cell survival, metabolism and tube formation. When endothelial cells were exposed to the soluble form of QHREDGS, improvements in endothelial cell barrier functionality, nitric oxide production and cell metabolism (ATP levels) in serum starved conditions were found. The functionality of the peptide was then examined when conjugated to collagen-chitosan hydrogel, a potential carrier for in vivo application. The presence of the peptide in the hydrogel mitigated paclitaxel induced apoptosis of endothelial cells in a dose dependent manner. Furthermore, the peptide modified hydrogels stimulated tube-like structure formation of encapsulated endothelial cells. When integrin avß3 or a5ß1 were antibody blocked during cell encapsulation in peptide modified hydrogels, tube formation was abolished. Therefore, the dual protective nature of the novel peptide QHREDGS may position this peptide as an appealing augmentation for collagen-chitosan hydrogels that could be used for biomaterial delivered cell therapies in the settings of myocardial infarction.