The effect of the extracellular matrix on the detachment of human endothelial cells

Portia B. Gordon, Mindy A. Levitt, C. S.P. Jenkins, Victor B. Hatcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Human umbilical vein endothelial cells can be serially passaged by supplementing medium with a partially purified growth factor. Cell‐substratum detachment of early and late passage endothelial cells was examined using trypsin, collagenase, or homocysteine. Late‐passage cells detached more rapidly than early passage cells under all conditions tested. The rate of detachment was dependent upon the specific agent used. Protease‐mediated detachment was most rapid, occurring over minutes, in contrast to homocysteine‐induced detachment, which occurred over hours. When detached cells were collected and replated in the absence of the detaching agent, these cells reattached spread, and continued to proliferate. No significant difference was observed in the rate of adhesion of either early or late passage cells to a gelatin matrix. When early or late‐passage endothelial cells were plated and grown to confluence on a matrix synthesized by the opposite cell type, the rate of protease‐mediated cell detachment resembled the cell type from which the matrix was derived. The ease of endothelial cell detachment was determined by the origin of the extracellular matrix. Examination of the extracellular matrices from early and late passage cells revealed significant differences in the amounts of glycosaminoglycans and sulfated proteins present. These studies demonstrate the importance of the endothelial cell extracellular matrix in protease‐mediated cell detachment. The rate of cell detachment was controlled by the extracellular matrices and not altered by the endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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