Collagen derived from chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) was crosslinked with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-carbodiimide (EDC) during collagen fibrillogenesis and applied to an in vitro cell culture to evaluate its potential use as a scaffold for vascular tissue engineering. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were cultured on the crosslinked salmon collagen fibrillar gel (EDC-SC gel), and their growth rates and production levels of cytokines, including platelet-derived growth factor-BB and von Willebrand factor, were measured. Comparison was also made with bovine collagen gel crosslinked with EDC (EDC-BC gel). The growth and cytokine production of the HUVEC cultured on the EDC-SC gel were higher than those on the EDC-BC gel. In addition, HUVEC were found to attach to the EDC-BC gel through α2β1 integrin for native collagen, whereas they attached to the EDC-SC gel through αvβ3 integrin for denatured collagen as well as the α2β1 integrin, indicating that HUVEC recognized denatured domains in the EDC-SC gel. In conclusion, the EDC-SC gel can be used as a scaffold to support HUVEC growth, although the integrin-mediated attachment manner differs between the two gels.
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