Human fetal placental endothelial cells have a mature arterial and a juvenile venous phenotype with adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation potential
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2008
© 2008, Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2008, International Society of Differentiation
Volume 76, Issue 10, pages 1031–1043, December 2008
How to Cite
Lang, I., Schweizer, A., Hiden, U., Ghaffari-Tabrizi, N., Hagendorfer, G., Bilban, M., Pabst, M. A., Korgun, E. T., Dohr, G. and Desoye, G. (2008), Human fetal placental endothelial cells have a mature arterial and a juvenile venous phenotype with adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation potential. Differentiation, 76: 1031–1043. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-0436.2008.00302.x
- Issue published online: 25 NOV 2008
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2008
- Received February 21, 2008; accepted in revised form May 9, 2008
- fetal endothelium;
Abstract Growing interest in the sources of origin of blood vessel related diseases has led to an increasing knowledge about the heterogeneity and plasticity of endothelial cells lining arteries and veins. So far, most of these studies were performed on animal models. Here, we hypothesized that the plasticity of human fetal endothelial cells depends on their vascular bed of origin i.e. vein or artery and further that the differences between arterial and venous endothelial cells would extend to phenotype and genotype.
We established a method for the isolation of fetal arterial and venous endothelial cells from the human placenta and studied the characteristics of both cell types. Human placental arterial endothelial cells (HPAEC) and human placental venous endothelial cells (HPVEC) express classical endothelial markers and differ in their phenotypic, genotypic, and functional characteristics: HPAEC are polygonal cells with a smooth surface growing in loose arrangements and forming monolayers with classical endothelial cobblestone morphology. They express artery-related genes (hey-2, connexin 40, depp) and more endothelial-associated genes than HPVEC. Functional testing demonstrated that vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) induce a higher proliferative response on HPAEC, whereas placental growth factors (PlGFs) are only effective on HPVEC. HPVEC are spindle-shaped cells with numerous microvilli at their surface. They grow closely apposed to each other, form fibroblastoid swirling patterns at confluence and have shorter generation and population doubling times than HPAEC. HPVEC overexpress development-associated genes (gremlin, mesenchyme homeobox 2, stem cell protein DSC54) and show an enhanced differentiation potential into adipocytes and osteoblasts in contrast to HPAEC.
These data provide collective evidence for a juvenile venous and a more mature arterial phenotype of human fetal endothelial cells. The high plasticity of the fetal venous endothelial cells may reflect their role as tissue-resident endothelial progenitors during embryonic development with a possible benefit for regenerative cell therapy.