International journal of molecular sciences

Primary Phenomenon in the Network Formation of Endothelial Cells: Effect of Charge.

PMID 26690133


Blood vessels are essential organs that are involved in the supply of nutrients and oxygen and play an important role in regulating the body's internal environment, including pH, body temperature, and water homeostasis. Many studies have examined the formation of networks of endothelial cells. The results of these studies have revealed that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) affects the interactions of these cells and modulates the network structure. Though almost all previous simulation studies have assumed that the chemoattractant VEGF is present before network formation, vascular endothelial cells secrete VEGF only after the cells bind to the substrate. This suggests VEGF is not essential for vasculogenesis especially at the early stage. Using a simple experiment, we find chain-like structures which last quite longer than it is expected, unless the energetically stable cluster should be compact. Using a purely physical model and simulation, we find that the hydrodynamic interaction retard the compaction of clusters and that the chains are stabilized through the effects of charge. The charge at the surface of the cells affect the interparticle potential, and the resulting repulsive forces prevent the chains from folding. The ions surrounding the cells may also be involved in this process.