Isolation and Culture of Human Endothelial Cells from Micro- and Macro-vessels

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The endothelium from different vascular beds exhibits a high degree of phenotypic heterogeneity. Endothelial cells (EC) can be harvested easily from large vessels by mechanical removal or collagenase digestion. In particular, the human umbilical vein has been used due to its wide availability, and the study of ECs derived from it has undoubtedly greatly advanced our knowledge of vascular biology. However, the majority of the body's endothelium (>95 %) forms the microvasculature, and it is these cells providing the interface between the blood and tissues that play a critical role in the development of new blood vessels. This has led to the establishment of techniques for the isolation of microvascular ECs (MEC) from different tissues to provide more physiologically relevant in vitro models of angiogenesis and EC function.In this chapter the use of superparamagnetic beads (Dynabeads) coated with anti-PECAM-1 (CD31) antibodies (PECA-beads) to culture MECs from human adipose tissue is described along with the standard methods used to characterize them. Adipose tissue is an ideal source of MECs as it is composed mainly of adipocytes with a very rich microvasculature and is easy to disaggregate. Furthermore, it can be obtained in large quantities during plastic surgery procedures. Adipose obtained at reduction mammoplasty or abdominoplasty is first dissected free of the connective tissue, minced finely, and subjected to collagenase type II digestion. The adipocytes are removed by centrifugation to obtain a microvessel rich pellet, which is further disaggregated with trypsin/EDTA solution. Following filtration to remove fragments of the connective tissue, the pellet is incubated with PECA-beads and microvessel fragments/ECs and washed and harvested using a magnet. In addition, the adaptation of this basic technique for the isolation of the human lung and stomach MECs is also described along with common methods for the preparation of large vessel endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAngiogenesis Protocols
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4939-3628-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-4939-3626-7
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2016

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029

Bibliographical note

Volume 1430 of Methods in Molecular Biology published as Angiogenesis Protocols


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