Soluble CD54 induces human endothelial cells ex vivo expansion useful for cardiovascular regeneration and tissue engineering application

N.M. Malara, V. Trunzo, G. Musolino, S. Aprigliano, G. Rotta, L. Macrina, Tania Limongi, S. Gratteri, Enzo M. Di Fabrizio, A. Renzulli, M. Fini, V. Mollace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Aim: Consistent expansion of primary human endothelial cells in vitro is critical in the development of engineered tissue. A variety of complex culture media and techniques developed from different basal media have been reported with alternate success. Incongruous results are further confounded by donor-to-donor variability and cellular source of derivation. Our results demonstrate how to overcome these limitations using soluble CD54 (sCD54) as additive to conventional culture medium. Methods and results: Isolated primary fragment of different vessel types was expanded in Ham's F12 DMEM, enriched with growth factors, Fetal Calf Serum and conditioned medium of Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) collected at different passages. Cytokine content of culture media was analyzed in order to identify the soluble factors correlating with better proliferation profile. sCD54 was found to induce the in vitro expansion of human endothelial cells (HECs) independently from the vessels source and even in the absence of HUVEC-conditioned medium. The HECs cultivated in the presence of sCD54 (50 ng/ml), resulted positive for the expression of CD146 and negative for CD45, and lower fibroblast contamination. Cells were capable to proliferate with an S phase of 25%, to produce vascular endothelial growth factor, VEGF, (10 ng/ml) and to give origin to vessel-like tubule in vitro. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that sCD54 is an essential factor for the in-vitro expansion of HECs without donor and vessel-source variability. Resulting primary cultures can be useful, for tissue engineering in regenerative medicine (e.g. artificial micro tissue generation, coating artificial heart valve etc.) and bio-nanotechnology applications. © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-53
Number of pages6
JournalIJC Heart & Vasculature
StatePublished - Mar 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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