Chemically-defined albumin-free differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells to endothelial progenitor cells.

21 Jun 2018

Human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived endothelial cells and their progenitors are important for vascular research and therapeutic revascularization. Here, we report a completely defined endothelial progenitor differentiation platform that uses a minimalistic medium consisting of Dulbecco's modified eagle medium and ascorbic acid, lacking of albumin and growth factors. Following hPSC treatment with a GSK-3β inhibitor and culture in this medium, this protocol generates more than 30% multipotent CD34+ CD31+ endothelial progenitors that can be purified to >95% CD34+ cells via magnetic activated cell sorting (MACS). These CD34+ progenitors are capable of differentiating into endothelial cells in serum-free inductive media. These hPSC-derived endothelial cells express key endothelial markers including CD31, VE-cadherin, and von Willebrand factor (vWF), exhibit endothelial-specific phenotypes and functions including tube formation and acetylated low-density lipoprotein (Ac-LDL) uptake. This fully defined platform should facilitate production of proliferative, xeno-free endothelial progenitor cells for both research and clinical applications.