Tan RP, Chan AHP, Lennartsson K, Miravet MM, Lee BSL, Rnjak-Kovacina J, Clayton ZE, Cooke JP, Ng MKC, Patel S, Wise SG

Stem Cell Res Ther 2018 03;9(1):70

PMID: 29562916


BACKGROUND: Induced pluripotent stem-cell derived endothelial cells (iPSC-ECs) can be generated from any somatic cell and their iPSC sources possess unlimited self-renewal. Previous demonstration of their proangiogenic activity makes them a promising cell type for treatment of ischemic injury. As with many other stem cell approaches, the low rate of in-vivo survival has been a major limitation to the efficacy of iPSC-ECs to date. In this study, we aimed to increase the in-vivo lifetime of iPSC-ECs by culturing them on electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL)/gelatin scaffolds, before quantifying the subsequent impact on their proangiogenic function.

METHODS: iPSC-ECs were isolated and stably transfected with a luciferase reporter to facilitate quantification of cell numbers and non-invasive imaging in-vivo PCL/gelatin scaffolds were engineered using electrospinning to obtain woven meshes of nanofibers. iPSC-ECs were cultured on scaffolds for 7 days. Subsequently, cell growth and function were assessed in vitro followed by implantation in a mouseback subcutaneous model for 7 days.

RESULTS: Using a matrix of conditions, we found that scaffold blends with ratios of PCL:gelatin of 70:30 (PG73) spun at high flow rates supported the greatest levels of iPSC-EC growth, retention of phenotype, and function in vitro. Implanting iPSC-ECs seeded on PG73 scaffolds in vivo improved their survival up to 3 days, compared to cells directly injected into control wounds, which were no longer observable within 1 h. Enhanced engraftment improved blood perfusion, observed through non-invasive laser Doppler imaging. Immunohistochemistry revealed a corresponding increase in host angiogenic mechanisms characterized by the enhanced recruitment of macrophages and the elevated expression of proangiogenic cytokines vascular endothelial growth factor and placental growth factor.

CONCLUSIONS: Knowledge of these mechanisms combined with a deeper understanding of the scaffold parameters influencing this function provides the groundwork for optimizing future iPSC-EC therapies utilizing engraftment platforms. The development of combined scaffold and iPSC-EC therapies could ultimately improve therapeutic angiogenesis and the treatment of ischemic injury.