Embryonic Mesoderm Progenitor Cells Exhibit VEGF Induced Differentiation and In Vitro Vasculogenesis

Rachel deVries, Jessica Ramirez


Human embryonic mesoderm progenitor cells (HEMPCs) upon differentiation give rise to embryo angioblasts, which differentiate into endothelial tissue and can form a primitive vascular network; making them a prime source of cells for transplantation and tissue engineering. Here, we have analyzed the effects of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-121) on previously uncharacterized lines of HEMPCs and what role it plays in their differentiation, expression of endothelial specific proteins, and formation of vascular like structures in vitro. Different lines of HEMPCs were cultured and their behavior was characterized in vitro. Cells were characterized qualitatively and quantitatively; recording morphological changes and measuring fluorescence, respectively. Upon culture the cells express an increase in expression of endothelial specific proteins such as platelet endothelial cell-adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM1) and von Willebrand Factor (vWF), upon addition of VEGF-121. Cells also exhibit elongation, migration, proliferation, and formation of vessel like structures: morphological changes characteristic of vasculogenesis. An immuno plate assay was then created to test the effect of different concentrations of VEGF-121 on endothelial specific protein expression. Protein expression was quantified using a fluorescence plate reader. Upon further experimentation, we will be able to better understand the role VEGF-121 plays in differentiation and in vitro vasculogenesis of HEMPCs, allowing us to explore their potential for use in regenerative medicine.


Embryonic mesoderm progenitor cells, In vitro, Vasculogenesis

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