Ovine Carotid Artery-Derived Cells as an Optimized Supportive Cell Layer in 2-D Capillary Network Assays

Stefan Weinandy, Patrick Babczyk, Agnieszka Dreier, Ronald E. Unger, Thomas C. Flanagan, C. James Kirkpatrick, Martin Zenke, Doris Klee, Stefan Jockenhoevel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Endothelial cell co-culture assays are differentiation assays which simulate the formation of capillary-like tubules with the aid of a supportive cell layer. Different cell types have been employed as a supportive cell layer, including human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) and human mammary fibroblasts. However, these sources of human tissue-derived cells are limited, and more readily accessible human or animal tissue-derived cell sources would simplify the endothelial cell co-culture assay. In the present study, we investigated the potential use of alternative, accessible supportive cells for endothelial cell co-culture assay, including human umbilical cord and ovine carotid artery.Human umbilical artery SMCs (HUASMCs) and ovine carotid artery-derived cells were seeded into 96-well plates, followed by addition of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Nine days after co-culture, cells were fixed, immunostained and analysed using an in vitro angiogenesis quantification tool. Capillary-like structures were detected on ovine carotid artery-derived supportive cell layers. The initial cell number, as well as pro- and anti-angiogenic factors (VEGF, PDGF-BB and Bevacizumab), had a positive or negative influence on the number of capillary-like structures. Furthermore, HUVECs from different donors showed distinct levels of VEGF receptor-2, which correlated with the amount of capillary-like structures. In the case of HUASMC supportive cell layers, HUVECs detached almost completely from the surface.Cells of different origin have a varying applicability regarding the endothelial cell co-culture assay: under the conditions described here, ovine carotid artery-derived cells seem to be more suitable than HUASMCs for an endothelial co-culture assay. Furthermore, the ovine carotid artery-derived cells are easier to obtain and are in more abundant supply than the currently used dermal or breast tissue cells. The use of ovine carotid artery-derived cells simplifies the endothelial co-culture assay with respect to testing large amounts of pro- and anti-angiogenic factors.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

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