Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 1451–1462 | Cite as

Concentration and Time Effects of Dextran Exposure on Endothelial Cell Viability, Attachment, and Inflammatory Marker Expression In Vitro

  • Leonie Rouleau
  • Joanna Rossi
  • Richard L. LeaskEmail author


Dextran is commonly used to alter growth medium rheological properties for in vitro flow experiments in order to match physiological parameters. Despite its acceptance in literature, few studies have examined dextran effects on cells. In this study, we investigated changes in endothelial cell function due to dextran, under static and flow conditions, in a concentration and time-dependent manner. Dextran increased endothelial cell viability, decreased their ability to attach to culture plates and decreased leukocyte adhesion to endothelial cells. Under static conditions, dextran increased protein and mRNA expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) in a concentration and time-dependent manner and caused the nuclear translocation of NF-κB. Steady laminar wall shear stress modulated the effects of dextran on ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and NF-κB expression in straight/tubular in vitro models. When the expression was normalized to their respective time matched static dextran control, it did not affect the ability to detect changes caused by shear on the mRNA expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1. This study demonstrates that dextran can alter endothelial cell function and therefore, caution is advised and time matched dextran controls are necessary when using dextran for dynamic cell studies.


Endothelial cell In vitro Perfusion Inflammation Wall shear Hemodynamic forces Dextran 



We thank A. McGlynn, J. Caporuscio, J. van der Vooren, C. Piche, and S. Meadley for their help in the determination of the medium properties. Technical assistance from L. Villeneuve in confocal imaging was also greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonie Rouleau
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joanna Rossi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Richard L. Leask
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Montreal Heart InstituteMontrealCanada

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