Directed cell migration is a crucial orchestrated process in embryonic development, wound healing, and immune response. The underlying substrate can provide physical and/or chemical cues that promote directed cell migration. Here, using electrospinning we developed substrates of aligned poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanofibres to study the influence of glial cells on endothelial cells (ECs) in a 3-dimensional (3D) co-culture model. ECs build blood vessels and regulate their plasticity in coordination with neurons. Likewise, neurons construct nerves and regulate their circuits in coordination with ECs. In our model, the neuro-vascular cross-talk was assessed using a direct co-culture model of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and rat Schwann cells (rSCs). The effect of rSCs on ECs behavior was demonstrated by earlier and higher velocity values and genetic expression profiles different of those of HUVECs when seeded alone. We observed 2 different gene expression trends in the co-culture models: (i) a later gene expression of angiogenic factors, such as interleukin-8 (IL-8) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and (ii) an higher gene expression of genes involved in actin filaments rearrangement, such as focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Mitogen-activated protein kinase-activated protein kinase 13 (MAPKAPK13), Vinculin (VCL), and Profilin (PROF). These results suggested that the higher ECs migration is mainly due to proteins involved in the actin filaments rearrangement and in the directed cell migration rather than the effect of angiogenic factors. This co-culture model provides an approach to enlighten the neurovascular interactions, with particular focus on endothelial cell migration.
- cell migration
- human umbilical vein endothelial cells
- poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)
- rat Schwann cells