• polyurethane-gold nanocomposites;
  • endothelial cell;
  • focal adhesion kinase;
  • alpha5/beta3 integrin;
  • migration


Model surfaces of polyurethane-gold nanocomposites (PU-Au) were used to examine cell behavior on nanophase-segregated materials. Previously we showed that endothelial cell (EC) migration on these materials was modulated by the PI3K/Akt/eNOS pathway. The present study, investigated the expressions of alpha5/beta3 (α5β3) integrin, focal adhesion kinase (FAK), and other downstream signal molecules such as the Rho family and matrix metalloproteinases 2 (MMP-2) induced by the materials in two different cells, that is bovine arterial endothelial cells (BAEC) and human skin fibroblasts (HSF). Both cells proliferated better on the more phase-separated PU-Au 43.5 ppm than on the less phase-separated controls (PU and PU-Au 174 ppm). On PU-Au 43.5 ppm, BAEC compared to HSF had denser actin fibers and were more extended. BAEC became rounded with Y-27632 treatment and shrunk with LY294002 treatment. Treatment by inhibitors only caused slight changes in HSF. The migration distance of BAEC on PU-Au 43.5 ppm was greater than that of HSF, and was significantly reduced by LY294002 or Y-27632 but not SU-1498. The expressions of p-FAK, p-RhoA, p-Rac/Cdc42, MMP2, and α5β3 integrin induced by PU-Au 43.5 ppm were more pronounced in BAEC versus HSF. Further enhancement in MMP2 and α5β3 integrin expressions by FAK-GFP transfection was more remarkable for cells on PU-Au 43.5 ppm. Our findings suggested that the integrin α5β3/FAK pathway may be induced by nanophase-separated materials in both ECs and fibroblasts to promote their proliferation/migration, while the crosstalk between the PI3K/Akt/eNOS pathway and FAK/Rho-GTPase activation may account for the greater effect in ECs than in fibroblasts. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A:, 2012.