Origin of periendothelial cells in microvessels derived from human microvascular endothelial cells.

Research paper by Ching-Ni CN Njauw, Hongwei H Yuan, Lei L Zheng, Min M Yao, Manuela M Martins-Green

Indexed on: 27 Nov '07Published on: 27 Nov '07Published in: The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology


In microvessels, periendothelial cells expressing alpha smooth muscle actin (alphaSMA) interact with the endothelial cells and are essential for vessel maturation and stabilization. In adult tissues, the cellular origin of the periendothelial cells is still not clear, in particular in humans. To determine the origin of human periendothelial cells, we used a recently developed 3D co-culture system that mimics human skin connective tissue. This system is composed of normal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDF), human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1), and a collagen matrix. In this system, "microvessels" composed of an endothelial lumen associated with periendothelial cells develop. Using this co-culture system, we (i) labelled fibroblasts with the vital dye CFDA-SE, cultured them with unlabelled endothelial cells, and observed that only endothelium-associated CFDA-SE-labelled cells express alphaSMA; (ii) infected endothelial cells with a retrovirus stably expressing eGFP, cultured them with unlabelled fibroblasts, and observed that cells expressing alphaSMA did not co-express eGFP, but were associated with the eGFP-expressing endothelial cells of the microvessels. Together, these results indicate that periendothelial cells arise by differentiation from fibroblasts and that they require interaction with endothelial cells to do so.

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