Efficient generation of endothelial cells from human pluripotent stem cells and characterization of their functional properties

Wei Song, Dan S Kaufman, Wei Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although endothelial cells (ECs) have been derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), large-scale generation of hPSC-ECs remains challenging and their functions are not well characterized. Here we report a simple and efficient three-stage method that allows generation of approximately 98 and 9500 ECs on day 16 and day 34, respectively, from each human embryonic stem cell (hESC) input. The functional properties of hESC-ECs derived in the presence and absence of a TGFβ-inhibitory molecule SB431542 were characterized and compared with those of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Confluent monolayers formed by SB431542 + hESC-ECs, SB431542-hESC-ECs, and HUVECs showed similar permeability to 10,000 Da dextran, but these cells exhibited striking differences in forming tube-like structures in 3D fibrin gels. The SB431542 + hESC-ECs were most potent in forming tube-like structures regardless of whether VEGF and bFGF were present in the medium; less potent SB431542-hESC-ECs and HUVECs responded differently to VEGF and bFGF, which significantly enhanced the ability of HUVECs to form tube-like structures but had little impact on SB431542-hESC-ECs. This study offers an efficient approach to large-scale hPSC-EC production and suggests that the phenotypes and functions of hPSC-ECs derived under different conditions need to be thoroughly examined before their use in technology development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-687
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • endothelial cells
  • fibrin gel
  • human embryonic stem cells
  • tube formation
  • vascularization


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