Endothelial reconstitution by CD34+ progenitors derived from baboon embryonic stem cells


Correspondence to: Qiang SHI, Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomedical Research Institute, P. O. Box 760549, San Antonio, TX 78245-0549, USA.

Tel.: (210) 258-9703

Fax: (210) 258-9796

E-mail: qshi@txbiomedgenetics.org


In this study, we used a large non-human primate model, the baboon, to establish a step-wise protocol to generate CD34+ endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) from embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and to demonstrate their reparative effects. Baboon ESCs were sequentially differentiated from embryoid body cultures for 9 days and then were specified into EPCs by culturing them in monolayer for 12 days. The resulting EPCs expressed CD34, CXCR4 and UEA-1, but neither CD31 nor CD117. The EPCs were able to form intact lumen structures when seeded on Matrigel, took up Dil-LDL, and responded to TNF-α. Angioblasts specified in EGM-2 medium and ECGS medium had 6.41 ± 1.16% (n = 3) and 9.32 ± 3.73% CD34+ cells (n = 3). The efficiency of generating CD34+ EPCs did not differ significantly from ECGS to EGM-2 culture media, however, angioblasts specified in ECGS medium expressed a higher percentage of CD34+/CXCR4+ cells (3.49 ± 1.32%, n = 3) than those specified in EGM-2 medium (0.49 ± 0.52%, n = 3). To observe their reparative capacity, we purified CD34+ progenitors after specification by EGM-2 medium; inoculated fluorescently labelled CD34+ EPCs into an arterial segment denuded of endothelium in an ex vivo system. After 14 days of ex vivo culture, the grafted cells had attached and integrated to the denuded surface; in addition, they had matured further and expressed terminally differentiated endothelial markers including CD31 and CD146. In conclusion, we have proved that specified CD34+ EPCs are promising therapeutic agents for repairing damaged vasculature.