Establishment of human endothelial cell lines in a serum-free culture and its application for expression of transfected prepro endothelin gene

Hum Cell. 1991 Dec;4(4):296-305.


Endothelial cells cover the inner layer of vascular tube and are involved in the pathogenesis of some diseases in heart and brain. A development of endothelial cell lines in a serum-free culture lead to our discovery of endothelin (ET) and is expected to be breakthrough for other new fields of medical science. In this paper, we report establishment of vascular endothelial cell lines in serum-free and protein-free culture, transfection of prepro ET cDNA into them, and it's expression and processing to mature ET. A human endothelial cell line, ECV304, has been subcultivated in medium with 10% fetal bovine serum. We tested serum-free culture of this cell line and a several months later, established a cell line, t-HUE2 which would show stable growth in serum-free medium ASF301 containing EGF, insulin, transferrin and albumin as protein components. After additional 12-months' struggle for obtaining a new cell line which can grow without any protein components, we established t-HUE4 cell line which can be subcultivated in basal medium of HamF-12. Although the cell line was derived from human umbilical vein endothelial cells, production and secretion of ET by the cell line into culture medium was not detected with radioimmunoassay method. By transfecting prepro ET cDNA into t-HUE2 and Raji (a human B cell line), we examined the regulation of gene expression in the transformed t-HUE2 and Raji cell lines. The results indicated that all the transformants expressed high level of prepro ET mRNA but that Raji transformant did not produce detectable amounts of ET nor ER precursor protein (big ET). In addition, conversion ratio of ET to big ET in t-HUE2 transformants was much higher than those in normal endothelial cells. Thus, post-transcriptional regulation of prepro ET gene in human B lymphocyte cell line and induction of ET converting enzyme in human vascular endothelial cell line were suggested. In addition to the present study, usefulness of t-HUE2 cell line in serum-free culture for the production of human-type glycoproteins was discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases / biosynthesis
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Cell Line
  • Culture Media, Serum-Free*
  • Endothelin-Converting Enzymes
  • Endothelins / genetics*
  • Endothelins / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / enzymology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Transfection*


  • Culture Media, Serum-Free
  • Endothelins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Endothelin-Converting Enzymes