Vasculogenesis from Human Dental Pulp Stem Cells Grown in Matrigel with Fully Defined Serum-Free Culture Media
The generation of vasculature is one of the most important challenges in tissue engineering and regeneration. Human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs) are some of the most promising stem cell types to induce vasculogenesis and angiogenesis as they not only secrete vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) but can also differentiate in vitro into both endotheliocytes and pericytes in serum-free culture media. Moreover, hDPSCs can generate complete blood vessels containing both endothelial and mural
... layers in vivo, upon transplantation into the adult brain. However, many of the serum free media employed for the growth of hDPSCs contain supplements of an undisclosed composition. This generates uncertainty as to which of its precise components are necessary and which are dispensable for the vascular differentiation of hDPSCs, and also hinders the transfer of basic research findings to clinical cell therapy. In this work, we designed and tested new endothelial differentiation media with a fully defined composition using standard basal culture media supplemented with a mixture of B27, heparin and growth factors, including VEGF-A165 at different concentrations. We also optimized an in vitro Matrigel assay to characterize both the ability of hDPSCs to differentiate to vascular cells and their capacity to generate vascular tubules in 3D cultures. The description of a fully defined serum-free culture medium for the induction of vasculogenesis using human adult stem cells highlights its potential as a relevant innovation for tissue engineering applications. In conclusion, we achieved efficient vasculogenesis starting from hDPSCs using serum-free culture media with a fully defined composition, which is applicable for human cell therapy purposes.