Ex vivo reconstitution of arterial endothelium by embryonic stem cell-derived endothelial progenitor cells in baboons

Qiang Shi, Vida Hodara, Calvin R. Simerly, Gerald P. Schatten, John L. Vandeberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


There is an increasing need for an animal model that can be used to translate basic research into clinical therapy. We documented the differentiation and functional competence of embryonic stem cell (ESC)-derived endothelial cells in baboons. Baboon angioblasts were sequentially differentiated from embryoid body cultures for 9 days in an angioblast differentiation medium with varying concentrations of BMP-4, FLT-3 ligand, stem cell factor, thrombopoietin, basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and knockout serum replacement. Real-time polymerase chain reaction results showed that ESC-derived angioblasts downregulated NANOG and OCT3/4, upregulated T-brachyury and GATA2, and moderately expressed CD34; they did not express CD144, TEK, or VWF, and varied in levels of CD31 expression. Several populations of putative angioblasts appeared 3 days and 9 days after differentiation, as identified by flow cytometry. Angioblasts at this stage exhibited dual paths of differentiation toward hematopoietic and vascular fates. To examine whether derived angioblasts could reconstitute the endothelium, we built an ex vivo culture system and seeded fluorescently labeled angioblast cultures onto a denuded segment of the femoral artery. We found that the seeded cells were able to grow into the endothelium on the interior surface of denuded artery segments within 5 days after seeding. After 14 days of ex vivo culture, the transplanted cells expressed CD31, an endothelial marker. The control arteries, seeded with vehicle only, did not harbor cells with endothelial markers. We conclude that ESC-derived angioblasts are promising therapeutic agents for repairing damaged vasculature, and that the baboon model will be vital for optimizing therapies for human clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-642
Number of pages12
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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