Inadequate vascularization of in vitro-engineered tissue constructs after implantation is a major problem in most tissue-engineering applications. In this study we evaluated whether adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (ASCs), similar to bone marrow-derived stromal cells (BMSCs), can support the organization of endothelial cells into prevascular-like structures using an in vitro model. In addition, we investigated the mechanisms leading to the support of endothelial organization by these cells. We cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), ASCs, and BMSCs either alone or in combination in fibrin-embedded spheroids for 14 days. We found that BMSCs and ASCs formed cellular networks that expressed α smooth muscle actin and, in the case of ASCs, also CD34. Further, BMSCs and ASCs secreted hepatocyte growth factor and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 and 2. In addition, ASC-conditioned medium induced HUVEC outgrowth, whereas BMSC-conditioned medium and hepatocyte growth factor-supplemented medium did not. Finally, both BMSCs and ASCs supported HUVEC organization into prevascular-like structures when cocultured. Our results suggest that both BMSCs and ASCs can support the formation of prevascular-like structures in vitro. Further, our findings indicate that cell-cell contacts and reciprocal signaling play an important role in the formation of these prevascular structures.

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Tissue Engineering. Part A
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Verseijden, F., Posthumus-van Sluijs, S., Pavljasevic, P., Hofer, S., van Osch, G., & Farrell, E. (2010). Adult human bone marrow-and adipose tissue-derived stromal cells support the formation of prevascular-like structures from endothelial cells in vitro. Tissue Engineering. Part A, 16(1), 101–114. doi:10.1089/ten.tea.2009.0106