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Effects of serum reduction and VEGF supplementation on angiogenic potential of human adipose stromal cells in vitro


Correspondence: K. H. Chua, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tel.: +603 928 97299; Fax: +603 2693 9687; E-mails:,



This study investigated effects of reduced serum condition and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) on angiogenic potential of adipose stromal cells (ASCs) in vitro.

Materials and methods

Adipose stromal cells were cultured in three different types of medium: (i) F12/DMEM (FD) supplemented with 10% FBS from passage 0 (P0) to P6; (ii) FD supplemented with 2% FBS at P6; and (iii) FD supplemented with 2% FBS plus 50 ng/ml of VEGF at P6. Morphological changes and growth rate of ASCs were recorded. Changes in stemness, angiogenic and endogenic genes’ expressions were analysed using Real-Time PCR.


Adipose stromal cells changed from fibroblast-like shape when cultured in 10% FBS medium to polygonal when cultured in 2% FBS plus VEGF-supplemented medium. Their growth rate was lower in 2% FBS medium, but increased with addition of VEGF. Real-Time PCR showed that ASCs maintained most of their stemness and angiogenic genes’ expression in 10% FBS at P1, P5 and P6, but this increased significantly in 2% FBS at P6. Endogenic genes expression such as PECAM-1, VE chaderin and VEGFR-2 decreased after serial passage in 10% FBS, but increased significantly at P6 in 2% FBS. Addition of VEGF did not cause any significant change in gene expression level.


Adipose stromal cells had greater angiogenic potential when cultured in reduced serum conditions. VEGF did not enhance their angiogenic potential in 2% FBS-supplemented medium.