Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are capable of differentiation into multilineage cell types under certain induction conditions. Previous studies have demonstrated that physical environments and mechanical force can influence MSC fate, indicating that these factors may be favorable inducers for clinical treatment. Our previous study found that MSCs are spread with a spindle shape when cultured in normal gravity (NG), and under modeled microgravity (MMG) for 72 h, they become unspread and round and their cytoskeleton fibers are reorganized. These morphological changes affected the function of MSCs through the activity of RhoA. We examined the responses of MSCs under MMG stimulation, followed with VEGF differentiation. We found that MSCs under MMG for 72 h were differentiated into endothelial-like cells by detecting the expression of endothelial-specific molecules (Flk-1 and vWF), which were also able to form a capillary network. Their endothelial differentiation potential was improved under MMG compared with that under NG. We believe that this method is a novel choice of MMG stimulation for neovascularization. This phenomenon may increase the potential of MSC differentiation, which might be a new strategy for the treatment of various vascular diseases and improve vascularization in tissue engineering.
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