Endothelial cell cytoskeletal alignment independent of fluid shear stress on micropatterned surfaces

Keri B. Vartanian, Sean J. Kirkpatrick, Stephen R. Hanson, Monica T. Hinds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Endothelial cells (ECs) in athero-protective regions are elongated with actin and microtubule fibers aligned parallel to the direction of blood flow. Fluid shear stress (FSS) affects EC shape and functions, but little is known about shape-dependent EC properties that are independent of FSS. To evaluate these properties, ECs were elongated on micropatterned (MP) 25 μm wide collagen-coated lanes (MPECs) and characterized by cell shape index, actin and microtubule alignment, and polarization of the microtubule-organizing center (MTOC). ECs on non-patterned surfaces were also exposed to FSS. MPEC elongation was microtubule-dependent (and actin-independent); shape indices and cytoskeletal alignment were comparable to FSS-elongated ECs. Cytoskeletal alignment was lost when MPECs were exposed to perpendicular FSS, but not parallel FSS. MTOC polarization was FSS-dependent. Thus, by isolating EC elongation and cytoskeletal alignment from FSS, micropatterning creates a platform for studying EC shape-related cellular functions that are independent of FSS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)787-792
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 11 2008


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Endothelial cell
  • Fluid shear stress (FSS)
  • Micropattern
  • Micropattern-elongated endothelial cell (MPEC)
  • Microtubule-organizing center (MTOC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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