5 years ago

Angiogenic potency evaluation of cell therapy candidates by a novel application of the in vitro aortic ring assay

Andrée Gauthier-Fisher, Peter Szaraz, Clifford L. Librach, Matthew Librach, Farwah Iqbal



Due to limitations of current angiogenesis assays, we aimed to develop a novel application of the rat aortic ring assay to assess the angiogenic potential of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). First-trimester human umbilical cord-derived perivascular cells (FTM HUCPVCs) have multipotent characteristics and previously demonstrated angiogenic potential. We compared the effect of this young source of MSCs and adult bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) on ex vivo aortic endothelial network formation.


Thoracic segments of adult rat aortas were isolated, sectioned and embedded into Matrigel™. Fluorophore-labeled FTM HUCPVC lines and BMSCs (N = 3) were cocultured with developing endothelial networks (day 0). MSC integration, tube formation and endothelial network growth were monitored daily using phase-contrast and fluorescence microscopy. Quantification of endothelial networks was performed using ImageJ network analysis software on day 5 of coculture.


FTM HUCPVCs from two umbilical cord samples migrated toward and integrated with developing aortic ring tubular networks while displaying elongated morphologies (day 1). In contrast, BMSCs did not show targeted migration and maintained spherical morphologies with limited physical interactions. Within 1 week of coculture, FTM HUCPVC lines contributed to significantly greater radial network growth and network loop formation when compared to BMSCs and untreated networks.


We have developed a novel potency assay to assess the angiogenic potential of cell therapy candidates. Favorable properties of FTM HUCPVCs over BMSCs that we observed with this assay and which merit further study include chemotaxis, affinity for developing vasculature, and physical supportive interactions contributing to the development of endothelial networks.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13287-017-0631-1

DOI: 10.1186/s13287-017-0631-1

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