Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Scheduled maintenance upgrade on Thursday 4th of May 2017 from 8.00am to 9.00am (BST).

During this time our websites will be offline temporarily. If you have any questions please use the feedback button on this page. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.

Issue 11, 2011
Previous Article Next Article

Vascular smooth muscle contractility depends on cell shape

Author affiliations


The physiologic role of smooth muscle structure in defining arterial function is poorly understood. We aimed to elucidate the relationship between vascular smooth muscle architecture and functional contractile output. Using microcontact printing and muscular thin film technology, we engineered in vitro vascular tissues with strictly defined geometries and tested their contractile function. In all tissues, vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) were highly aligned with in vivo-like spindle architecture, and contracted physiologically in response to stimulation with endothelin-1. However, tissues wherein the VSMCs were forced into exaggerated spindle elongation exerted significantly greater contraction force per unit cross-sectional area than those with smaller aspect ratios. Moreover, this increased contraction did not occur in conjunction with an increase in traditionally measured contractile phenotype markers. These results suggest that cellular architecture within vascular tissues plays a significant role in conferring tissue function and that, in some systems, traditional phenotype characterization is not sufficient to define a functionally contractile population of VSMCs.

Graphical abstract: Vascular smooth muscle contractility depends on cell shape

Back to tab navigation
Please wait while Download options loads

Publication details

The article was received on 27 Jun 2011, accepted on 01 Sep 2011 and first published on 12 Oct 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1IB00061F
Citation: Integr. Biol., 2011,3, 1063-1070
  •   Request permissions

    Vascular smooth muscle contractility depends on cell shape

    P. W. Alford, A. P. Nesmith, J. N. Seywerd, A. Grosberg and K. K. Parker, Integr. Biol., 2011, 3, 1063
    DOI: 10.1039/C1IB00061F

Search articles by author