Published online Feb 26, 2020. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v12.i2.123
Peer-review started: July 17, 2019
First decision: August 23, 2019
Revised: December 3, 2019
Accepted: December 23, 2019
Article in press: December 23, 2019
Published online: February 26, 2020
Fetal medicine and fetal surgery have been substantially developed for the treatment of congenital defects. Stem cell transplantation is an important means of tissue reconstruction and repair of genetic defects. Endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) represent a promising cell candidate for their unique role in facilitating the formation of angiogenesis and vascularization.
ECFCs isolated from the chorionic villus tissue of early gestation placentas can serve as a source of cells for prenatal autologous fetal cell transplantation, as well as provide a basis for studying the development, physiological function, congenital disease, and fetal treatment of the developing fetus and placenta.
The objective of this study is to establish an isolation protocol to obtain ECFCs from the chorionic villus of human early gestation placentas, as well as to investigate the characterization of these cells and their potential applications in gene delivery and tissue engineering.
Dissected chorionic villus tissues were enzymatically digested to obtain single cells. Then, magnetic bead sorting, monoclonal culture and colony isolation were performed to obtain chorionic villi-derived ECFCs (CV-ECFCs). Immunohistochemical identification, flow cytometry, Matrigel tube formation assays, LDL uptake assays and lentiviral transduction were carried out to characterize the morphology, phenotype and function of the purified and expanded CV-ECFCs.
Using the established isolation protocol, we were able to obtain 1.8 × 107 pure CV-ECFCs from a single cell colony culture within 6-8 wks. CV-ECFCs showed typical endothelial phenotypes and functions. CV-ECFCs have demonstrated the ability to be transduced with lentiviruses, and function as carriers for gene therapy. They also possess good biocompatibility with biomaterial delivery vehicles, such as small intestinal submucosa extracellular matrix for potential tissue engineering applications.
This study shows that ECFCs are present in early gestation placental chorionic villi, and can be isolated and expanded to a significant number in a short period of time. These CV-ECFCs possess typical endothelial cell phenotypes and functions, and hold the potential of being used in gene therapy and tissue engineering applications.
CV-ECFCs isolated from early gestation placentas provide a new source of ECFCs for the fetal treatment of congenital disorders. Combined with existing in utero treatment technologies, this cell therapy could be widely applied toward a variety of diseases and conditions. In future research, we will further explore the in vivo applications of these cells in various animal models. Investigating the phenotype and functions of CV-ECFCs will also facilitate our understanding of the development, cellular composition, and function of the developing placenta and its interaction with the developing fetus.