Functional blood vessels regenerated in vivo from human induced pluripotent stem cells

Vasculogenesis ? the process of blood vessel formation through a de novo production of endothelial cells (ECs, or those forming a thin layer lining the interior surface of blood and lymphatic vessels) ? is a vital tool in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, and, in particular, the battle against vascular disease, the leading cause of mortality in the United States. (More than one in three Americans (36.9%) suffer from heart disease, and by 2030, an estimated 116 million people in the United States (40.5%) will have some form of cardiovascular disease.) More specifically, generating functional, long-lasting vasculogenic cells is a key but elusive component in human induced pluripotent stem (hiPS) research. Recently, however, researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital successfully generated endothelial cells from healthy donors’ hiPS cells to form stable functional blood vessels in vivo. Moreover, they developed an approach to generate mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs, or multipotent stromal, or connective tissue, cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types including perivascular cells ? another component of vessel wall) from hiPS cells in parallel, and also generated functional blood vessels in vivo using these endothelial and multipotent stromal derived cells from the same hiPS cell line. Beyond this, and in terms of clinical translation, the team successfully generated ECs and MPCs from Type 1 Diabetic patient-derived hiPS cell lines and also used them to generate blood vessels in vivo.

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