Background: We demonstrated that mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells-derived vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGF-R2) positive cells could differentiate into both endothelial cells (EC) and mural cells (MC), and termed them as vascular progenitor cells (VPC). Recently, we have established a method to expand monkey and human ES cells-derived VPC with the proper differentiation stage in a large quantity. Here we investigated the therapeutic potential of human VPC-derived EC and MC for vascular regeneration. Methods and Results: After the expansion of human VPC-derived vascular cells, we transplanted these cells to nude mice with hindlimb ischemia. The blood flow recovery and capillary density in ischemic hindlimbs were significantly improved in human VPC-derived EC-transplanted mice, compared to human peripheral and umbilical cord blood-derived endothelial progenitor cells (pEPC and uEPC) transplanted mice. The combined transplantation of human VPC-derived EC and MC synergistically improved blood flow of ischemic hindlimbs remarkably, compared to the single cell transplantations. Transplanted VPC-derived vascular cells were effectively incorporated into host circulating vessels as EC and MC to maintain long-term vascular integrity. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the combined transplantation of human ES cells-derived EC and MC can be used as a new promising strategy for therapeutic vascular regeneration in patients with tissue ischemia.
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