Functional blood vessels from hESCs durable for at least 151 days

A really pushing-the-limits paper published by the Scadden lab as a Brief Communication in Nature Biotechnology Advance Online, just like the De Coppi, Atala et al. paper on human amniotic stem cells in January. This time human embryonic stem (hES) cells were differentiated into endothelial cells using a scalable step-by-step two-dimensional method, avoiding the formation of three-dimensional (3D) embryoid bodies from the cells and the inefficient spontaneous differentiation. The selected culture cells were labeled with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) to track their in vivo life after transplantation into immunodeficient (SCID) mice (see the green visualization on the picture). The differentiated cells were able to form functional blood vessels in vivo and contributed to arborized blood vessels that integrated into the host circulatory system and served as blood conduits for 150 d”. Zack Z Wang, Patrick Au, Tong Chen, Ying Shao, Laurence M Daheron, Hao Bai, Melanie Arzigian, Dai Fukumura, Rakesh K Jain & David T Scadden: Endothelial cells derived from human embryonic stem cells form durable blood vessels in vivo


Significance: Scalability in tissue engineering, i.e. the generation of sufficient initial numbers of differentiated cells is a hard problem, and the 2D method of the group was a success in this respect. “This differentiation system may provide a renewable resource of endothelial cells for potential applications such as the engineering of new blood vessels for the treatment of regional ischemia.”