We demonstrated that Flk-1+ cells derived from mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells can differentiate into both endothelial cells (ECs) and mural cells (MCs) to suffice as vascular progenitor cells (VPCs). In the present study, we investigated the importance of the stage of ES cell differentiation on effective participation in adult neovascularization. We obtained Flk-1+ LacZ-expressing undifferentiated VPCs. Additional culture of these VPCs with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) resulted in a mixture of ECs and MCs (differentiated VPCs). We injected VPCs subcutaneously into tumor-bearing mice. Five days after the injection, whereas undifferentiated VPCs were often detected as nonvascular cells, differentiated VPCs were more specifically incorporated into developing vasculature mainly as ECs. VPC-derived MCs were also detected in vascular walls. Furthermore, transplantation of differentiated VPCs augmented tumor blood flow in nude mice. These results indicate that a specific vascular contribution in adult neovascularization can be achieved by selective transplantation of ES cell-derived VPCs in appropriate differentiation stages, which should be the basis for vascular regeneration schemes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology