Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 Binding to Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans Varies with Shear Stress in Flow-Adapted Cells

  • Jonathan Garcia
  • Nisha Patel
  • Sarah Basehore
  • Alisa Morss ClyneEmail author


Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), an important regulator of angiogenesis, binds to endothelial cell (EC) surface FGF receptors (FGFRs) and heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). FGF2 binding kinetics have been predominantly studied in static culture; however, the endothelium is constantly exposed to flow which may affect FGF2 binding. We therefore used experimental and computational techniques to study how EC FGF2 binding changes in flow. ECs adapted to 24 h of flow demonstrated biphasic FGF2-HSPG binding, with FGF2-HSPG complexes increasing up to 20 dynes/cm2 shear stress and then decreasing at higher shear stresses. To understand how adaptive EC surface remodeling in response to shear stress may affect FGF2 binding to FGFR and HSPG, we implemented a computational model to predict the relative effects of flow-induced surface receptor changes. We then fit the computational model to the experimental data using relationships between HSPG availability and FGF2-HSPG dissociation and flow that were developed from a basement membrane study, as well as including HSPG production. These studies suggest that FGF2 binding kinetics are altered in flow-adapted ECs due to changes in cell surface receptor quantity, availability, and binding kinetics, which may affect cell growth factor response.


Fibroblast growth factor-2 Endothelial cells Shear stress Fluid flow Binding kinetics Heparan sulfate proteoglycans Mass transport 



Fibroblast growth factor 2, basic fibroblast growth factor


Heparan sulfate proteoglycan


Fibroblast growth factor receptor


Endothelial cell



Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (Grant No. CBET-0846751).


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Garcia
    • 1
  • Nisha Patel
    • 1
  • Sarah Basehore
    • 1
  • Alisa Morss Clyne
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health SystemsDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics DepartmentDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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