Characterizing endothelial cells derived from the murine embryonic stem cell line CCE
Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are defined by two main properties of self-renewal and their multipotency to differentiate into virtually all cell types of the body, including endothelial cells. ESCs have been widely regarded as an unlimited source of cells in regeneration medicine and also an ideal in vitro model to investigate complex developmental processes. Here, we report a simple and efficient in vitro model to derive a nearly pure population of endothelial cells from a murine ESC line. CCE ES cells are exposed to alpha-MEM medium containing 10% FBS for 4 days and then cultured in endothelial basal-2 medium containing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and 2% FBS for 42 days. The cells acquired a relatively uniform endothelial cell morphology and were able to propagate and expand in culture. When murine ES cell-derived endothelial cells (MESDECs) were cultured on Matrigel and incubated for 48 h, vessel-like tube structures consisting of CD31 (PECAM-1) or BS-1 immunoreactive cells were developed. Immunocytochemistry and RT-PCR analyses revealed that MESDECs express endothelial cell-specific marker proteins such as Flk-1, PECAM-1, Tie-1, and Tie-2, in which the expressions persist for long periods of time after differentiation. The cells were also capable of taking up acetylated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in culture. Our data suggest that MESDECs could provide a suitable in vitro model to study molecular events involved in vascular development and open up a new therapeutic strategy in regeneration medicine of cardiovascular disorders.