Endothelial cells in culture: a model for studying vascular functions

Pharmacol Res. 2000 Jul;42(1):9-19. doi: 10.1006/phrs.1999.0655.


Vascular endothelium - lining the inner side of blood bessels - is one of the largest secretory tissues of the body. Therefore, understanding the cellular and molecular biology of the endothelial cells is essential for the development of new approaches for both the prevention and therapy of cardiovascular diseases. To this aim, in vitro cultures of endothelial cells provide a valuable technical resource. This review focuses on some of the critical phases of the endothelial cells culturing methodology such as: i) isolation and growing of endothelial cells; ii) identification of endothelial cells by morphological, biochemical and cellular markers; iii) studying endothelial cells in function of vascular pharmacology, vasomotor tone, vessel remodelling (angiogenesis/apoptosis), blood haemostasis, inflammatory reactions, and molecular engineering. Practical suggestions for culturing endothelial cells are presented while pros and cons of each method are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Blood Coagulation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Stress, Mechanical