Coronary microvascular endothelial cells exert (patho)physiological effects on the function of cardiac myocytes, which may be studied experimentally using pure cell populations. As an essential pre-requisite to the investigation of cells from gene-modified mice, we studied the phenotypic properties of coronary microvascular endothelial cells isolated from normal mice, and biochemically characterized the superoxide production by these cells. Microvascular endothelial cells were isolated from devitalized mouse ventricular tissue after sequential digestion with collagenase, trypsin and DNase. Coronary microvascular endothelial cells were separated from cardiac myocytes and other cells by differential centrifugation, plating and culture. Mouse coronary microvascular endothelial cells showed an irregular "cobblestone" morphology at confluence, were >98% positive for CD31 by FACS analysis, and were also positive for VE-cadherin and endothelial-type nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) by confocal microscopy. The cells took up fluorescently labelled, acetylated low-density lipoprotein, but were negative for a alpha -smooth muscle actin, desmin and cytokeratin. Unlike human endothelial cells, mouse coronary microvascular endothelial cells only weakly expressed von Willebrand factor. Immunoblotting showed that the mouse cells expressed components of a phagocyte-type NADPH oxidase. They exhibited NADPH-dependent O(2)(-)-generating activity, which was increased by angiotensin II but completely inhibited by diphenyleneiodonium. Thus, mouse coronary microvascular endothelial cells express both eNOS and NADPH oxidase, interactions between which may play a role in endothelial cell pathophysiology.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.