Indexed on: 01 Jul '11Published on: 01 Jul '11Published in: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface / the Royal Society
Vascular endothelial cell (EC) adhesion and migration are essential processes in re-endothelialization of implanted biomaterials. There is no clear relationship and mechanism between EC adhesion and migration behaviour on surfaces with varying wettabilities. As model substrates, plasma SiO(x):H nanocoatings with well-controlled surface wettability (with water contact angles in the range of 98.5 ± 2.3° to 26.3 ± 4.0°) were used in this study to investigate the effects of surface wettability on cell adhesion/migration and associated protein expressions in FAK-Rho GTPases signalling pathways. It was found that EC adhesion/migration showed opposite behaviour on the hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces (i.e. hydrophobic surfaces promoted EC migration but were anti-adhesions). The number of adherent ECs showed a maximum on hydrophilic surfaces, while cells adhered to hydrophobic surfaces exhibited a tendency for cell migration. The focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor targeting the Y-397 site of FAK could significantly inhibit cell adhesion/migration, suggesting that EC adhesion and migration on surfaces with different wettabilities involve (p)FAK and its downstream signalling pathways. Western blot results suggested that the FAK-Rho GTPases signalling pathways were correlative to EC migration on hydrophobic plasma SiO(x):H surfaces, but uncertain to hydrophilic surfaces. This work demonstrated that surface wettability could induce cellular behaviours that were associated with different cellular signalling events.