Human Liver Endothelial Cells, But Not Macrovascular or Microvascular Endothelial Cells, Engraft in the Mouse Liver
Abstract:Liver cell transplantation has had limited clinical success so far, partly due to poor engraftment of hepatocytes. Instead of hepatocytes. other cell types, such as endothelial cells, could be used in ex vivo liver gene therapy. The goal of the present study was to compare the grafting and repopulation capacity of human endothelial cells derived from various tissues. Human endothelial cells were isolated from adult and fetal livers using anti-human CD31 antibody-conjugated magnetic beads. Human macrovascular endothelial cells were obtained from umbilical vein. Human microvascular endothelial cells were isolated from adipose tissue. Cells were characterized using flow cytometry. Liver engraftment and repopulation of endothelial cells was studied after intrasplenic transplantation in monocrotaline-treated immunodeficient mice. Following transplantation, human liver endothelial cells engrafted throughout the mouse liver. With immunoscanning electron microscopy, fenestrae in engrafted human liver endothelial cells were identified, a characteristic feature of liver sinusoidal endothelial cells. In contrast, CD31-negative liver cells, human macrovascular and microvascular endothelial cells were not capable of repopulating mouse liver. Characterization of human liver, macrovascular, and microvascular endothelial cells demonstrated expression of CD31, CD34, and CD146 but not CD45. Our study shows that only human liver endothelial cells, but not macro- and microvascular endothelial cells, have the unique capacity to engraft and repopulate the mouse liver. These results indicate that mature endothelial cells cannot transdifferentiate in vivo and thus do not exhibit phenotypic plasticity. Our results have set a basis for further research to the potential of human liver endothelial cells in liver-directed cell and gene therapy.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: October 4, 2013
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