Proangiogenic Activity of Endometrial Epithelial and Stromal Cells in Response to Estradiol in Gelatin Hydrogels


Biomaterial vascularization remains a major focus in the field of tissue engineering. Biomaterial culture of endometrial cells is described as a platform to inform the design of proangiogenic biomaterials. The endometrium undergoes rapid growth and shedding of dense vascular networks during each menstrual cycle mediated via estradiol and progesterone in vivo. Cocultures of endometrial epithelial and stromal cells encapsulated within a methacrylamide-functionalized gelatin hydrogel are employed. It is reported that proangiogenic gene expression profiles and vascular endothelial growth factor production are hormone dependent in endometrial epithelial cells, but that hormone signals have no effect on human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT)-immortalized endometrial stromal cells. This study subsequently examines whether the magnitude of epithelial cell response is sufficient to induce changes in human umbilical vein endothelial cell network formation. Incorporation of endometrial stromal cells improves vessel formation, but co-culture with endometrial epithelial cells leads to a decrease in vascular formation, suggesting the need for stratified cocultures of endometrial epithelial and stromal cells with endothelial cells. Given the transience of hormonal signals within 3D biomaterials, the inclusion of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) to alter the bioavailability of estradiol within the hydrogel is reported, demonstrating a strategy to reduce diffusive losses via SHBG-mediated estradiol sequestration.

Publication Title