Quiescence is commonly used to describe the inactive state of endothelial cells (ECs) in monolayers that have reached homeostasis. Experimentally quiescence is usually described in terms of the relative change in cell activity (e.g. turnover, speed, etc.) in response to a perturbation (e.g. solute, shear stress, etc.). The objective of this study is to provide new insight into EC quiescence by quantitatively defining the morphology and activity of confluent cell monolayers in response to shear stress and vascular modulators. Confluent monolayers of human umbilical vein ECs (HUVECs) were subjected to a range of shear stresses (4-16 dyne cm-2) under steady flow. Using phase contrast, time-lapse microscopy and image analysis, we quantified EC morphology, speed, proliferation, and apoptosis rates over time and detected differences in monolayer responses under various media conditions: basal media supplemented with growth factors, interleukin-8, or cyclic AMP. In all conditions, we observed a transition from cobblestone to spindle-like morphology in a dose-dependent manner due to shear stress. Cyclic AMP enhanced the elongation and alignment of HUVECs due to shear stress and reduced steady state cell speed. We observed the lowest pr...Continue Reading
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