Isolating and defining cells to engineer human blood vessels


  • Presented at the Congress on Adult Somatic Cells held at Monaco during 26–28 November 2009.

M. C. Yoder, MD, Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, 1044 W. Walnut Street, R4-W125, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA. Tel.: 317-274-4738; Fax: 317-274-8679; E-mail:


A great deal of attention has been recently focused on understanding the role that bone marrow-derived putative endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) may play in the process of neoangiogenesis. However, recent data indicate that many of the putative EPC populations are comprised of various haematopoietic cell subsets with proangiogenic activity, but these marrow-derived putative EPC fail to display vasculogenic activity. Rather, this property is reserved for a rare population of circulating viable endothelial cells with colony-forming cell (ECFC) ability. Indeed, human ECFC possess clonal proliferative potential, display endothelial and not haematopoietic cell surface antigens, and display in vivo vasculogenic activity when suspended in an extracellular matrix and implanted into immunodeficient mice. Furthermore, human vessels derived became integrated into the murine circulatory system and eventually were remodelled into arterial and venous vessels. Identification of this population now permits determination of optimal type I collagen matrix microenvironment into which the cells should be embedded and delivered to accelerate and even pattern number and size of blood vessels formed, in vivo. Indeed, altering physical properties of ECFC-collagen matrix implants changed numerous parameters of human blood vessel formation, in host mice. These recent discoveries may permit a strategy for patterning vascular beds for eventual tissue and organ regeneration.