Abnormal angiogenesis (formation of capillaries) plays an important role in the impaired diabetic wound healing and has emerged as a new target area for therapeutic interventions. Pulsed magnetic field therapy, which was initially used for healing of bone fractures, has been recently introduced as a potential therapy to treat diabetic and chronic wounds [1], although the mechanisms responsible for improved healing are still unclear. Electromagnetic fields (EMF) have been shown to act as a directional cues in cellular responses such as migration and activations of several signal transduction cascades [2]. Recent literature delineates an important role of GHz EMF (i.e., with an oscillation period of a fraction of a nanosecond) in inducing rapid and sustained phosphorylation of mitrogen-activated kinase and extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (MAPK/ERK) [3]. Recent studies have also implicated MAP kinase in mediating the phosphorylation of Connexin-43 (Cx43) that accompanies regulation of cell-cell communication via connexin gap junctions [4]. Importantly, both MAPK/ERK pathway and Cx43 signaling are involved in the process of angiogenesis [5,6]. Therefore, the goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that high-frequency (7.5GHz) EMFs promote angiogenesis in vitro via MAPK/ERK and/or Cx43 signaling. We used a custom-built EMF exposure setup and a self-assembling peptide nanoscaffold as a controlled angiogenic microenvironment [7] to quantify the effect of EMF on capillary formation and underlying cellular responses.

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