We have previously developed a cell culture model to study the effects of angiogenic factors, such as sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), on the invasion of endothelial cells into the underlying extracellular matrix. In addition to biochemical stimuli, vascular endothelial cells are subjected to fluid shear stress due to blood flow. The present study is aimed at determining the effects of fluid shear stress on endothelial cell invasion into collagen gels. A device was constructed to apply well-defined fluid shear stresses to confluent human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) seeded on collagen gels. Fluid shear stress induced significant increases in cell invasion with a maximal induction at ∼5 dyn/cm2. These results provide evidence that fluid shear stress is a significant stimulus for endothelial cell invasion and may play a role in regulating angiogenesis.

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