Part B: Directed Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells into Endothelial Cells

Carrie Soukup, Shulamit Levenberg, Ondine Cleaver

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Human embryonic stem (ES) cells have virtually unlimited self-renewal capacity and developmental potential, giving them great promise to impact the future of cell based therapies and tissue engineering. Harnessing the ability to drive controlled differentiation of human ES cells to a given cell type is now at the forefront of biomedical research. Of particular importance to this developing technology, is the generation of endothelial cells. Such cells line all blood vessels and serve the vital role of transporting blood throughout the body, allowing all cells access to gas and metabolic exchange. Vascularization of tissues is therefore fundamentally required for the viability of complex organisms, such as humans. The clinical importance of blood vessels is unmistakable when considering human ailments, such as ischemia, cardiovascular disease and tumour angiogenesis. Not only can engineered endothelial cells be used directly to treat vascular disease and ischemic tissue in vivo, but they can be used indirectly to test anti-angiogenic drugs or study ex vivo the effects of specific gene mutations. In addition, they are also paramount to the successful cultivation, integration and survival of transplanted or engineered tissues. In this chapter, we will review the fundamental characteristics of the EC and outline three protocols for inducing human ES cells to differentiate into endothelial cells, based on a combination of special culture conditions, selection and EC amplification. Overall, these methods allow the generation of highly enriched populations of human endothelial cells, which can be used for further culture, analysis and functional assays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman Embryonic Stem Cells
Subtitle of host publicationThe Practical Handbook
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780470033562
StatePublished - Jun 15 2007


  • Blood vessel
  • Co-culture
  • Embryoid body
  • Endothelial cell
  • Hemangioblast
  • Human embryonic stem cell
  • Mesoderm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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