OBJECTIVE To evaluate optimal isolation of endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) from peripheral blood of horses.
SAMPLE Jugular and cephalic venous blood samples from 17 adult horses.
PROCEDURES Each blood sample was divided; isolation was performed with whole blood adherence (WBA) and density gradient centrifugation (DGC). Isolated cells were characterized by uptake of 1,1’-dioctadecyl-3,3,3’,3’-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate–labeled acetylated low-density lipoprotein (DiI-Ac-LDL), vascular tubule formation, and expression of endothelial (CD34, CD105, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2, and von Willebrand factor) and hematopoietic (CD14) cell markers by use of indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and flow cytometry.
RESULTS Colonies with cobblestone morphology were isolated from 15 of 17 horses. Blood collected from the cephalic vein yielded colonies significantly more often (14/17 horses) than did blood collected from the jugular vein (8/17 horses). Of 14 cephalic blood samples with colonies, 13 were obtained with DGC and 8 with WBA. Of 8 jugular blood samples with colonies, 8 were obtained with DGC and 4 with WBA. Colony frequency (colonies per milliliter of blood) was significantly higher for cephalic blood samples and samples isolated with DGC. Cells formed vascular tubules, had uptake of DiI-Ac-LDL, and expressed endothelial markers by use of IFA and flow cytometry, which confirmed their identity as ECFCs.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Maximum yield of ECFCs was obtained for blood samples collected from both the jugular and cephalic veins and use of DGC to isolate cells. Consistent yield of ECFCs from peripheral blood of horses will enable studies to evaluate diagnostic and therapeutic uses.
OBJECTIVE To isolate and characterize endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs; a subtype of endothelial progenitor cells) from peripheral blood samples of horses.
SAMPLE Jugular venous blood samples from 24 adult horses.
PROCEDURES Blood samples were cultured in endothelial cell growth medium. Isolated ECFCs were characterized by use of functional assays of fluorescence-labeled acetylated low-density lipoprotein (DiI-Ac-LDL) uptake and vascular tubule formation in vitro. Expression of endothelial (CD34, CD105, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, and von Willebrand factor) and hematopoietic (CD14) cell markers was assessed through indirect immunofluorescence assay and flow cytometry. The number of passages before senescence was determined through serial evaluation of DiI-Ac-LDL uptake, vascular tubule formation, and cell doubling rates.
RESULTS Samples from 3 horses produced colonies at 12 ± 2.5 days with characteristic endothelial single layer cobblestone morphology and substantial outgrowth on expansion. Equine ECFCs formed vascular tubules in vitro and had uptake of DiI-Ac-LDL (74.9 ± 14.7% positive cells). Tubule formation and DiI-Ac-LDL uptake diminished by passage 5. Equine ECFCs tested positive for von Willebrand factor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, CD34, and CD105 with an immunofluorescence assay and for CD14 and CD105 via flow cytometry.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE ECFCs can be isolated from peripheral blood of horses and have characteristics similar to those described for other species. These cells may have potential therapeutic use in equine diseases associated with ischemia or delayed vascularization.