Morphogenesis of 3D vascular networks is regulated by tensile forces

Dekel Rosenfeld, Shira Landau, Yulia Shandalov, Noa Raindel, Alina Freiman, Erez Shor, Yaron Blinder, Herman H. Vandenburgh, David J. Mooney, Shulamit Levenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Understanding the forces controlling vascular network properties and morphology can enhance in vitro tissue vascularization and graft integration prospects. This work assessed the effect of uniaxial cell-induced and externally applied tensile forces on the morphology of vascular networks formed within fibroblast and endothelial cell-embedded 3D polymeric constructs. Force intensity correlated with network quality, as verified by inhibition of force and of angiogenesis-related regulators. Tensile forces during vessel formation resulted in parallel vessel orientation under static stretching and diagonal orientation under cyclic stretching, supported by angiogenic factors secreted in response to each stretch protocol. Implantation of scaffolds bearing network orientations matching those of host abdominal muscle tissue improved graft integration and the mechanical properties of the implantation site, a critical factor in repair of defects in this area. This study demonstrates the regulatory role of forces in angiogenesis and their capacities in vessel structure manipulation, which can be exploited to improve scaffolds for tissue repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3215-3220
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - 22 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
European Union's Seventh Framework Program281501-ENGVASC, FP/2007-2013, 229294-NanoCard
European Research Council
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology


    • Endothelial cells
    • Engineered tissue
    • Mechanical forces
    • Vascularization


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