• elastin;
  • vascular tissue engineering;
  • electrospinning;
  • smooth muscle cell;
  • surface topography;
  • growth factors;
  • hyaluronan


Strategies to enhance the production of organized elastic matrix by smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are critical in engineering functional vascular conduits. Therefore, the goal of this study was to determine the effect of different surfaces, i.e. random and aligned electrospun poly(ε-caprolactone) meshes and two-dimensional (2D) controls, and exogenous elastogenic factors on the cultured rat aortic SMC phenotype and production of extracellular matrix. This study demonstrated that aligned electrospun fibres guide cell alignment, induce a more elongated cell morphology and promote a more synthetic phenotype. Importantly, these cells produced greater amounts of elastin-rich matrix per cell on the electrospun scaffolds. In addition, exogenous elastogenic factors severely limited rat aortic smooth muscle cells (RASMCs) proliferation and promoted a more synthetic SMC phenotype on electrospun meshes, but they had less effect on 2D controls. Finally, the elastogenic factors induced the SMCs to generate more matrix collagen and elastin on a per cell basis. Together, these results demonstrate the elastogenic benefits of electrospun meshes. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.