Mesoangioblasts are recently identified stem/progenitor cells, associated with small vessels of the mesoderm in mammals. Originally described in the mouse embryonic dorsal aorta, similar though not identical cells have been later identified and characterized from postnatal small vessels of skeletal muscle and heart (not described in this unit). They have in common the anatomical location, the expression of endothelial and/or pericyte markers, the ability to proliferate in culture, and the ability to undergo differentiation into various types of mesoderm cells upon proper culture conditions. Currently, the developmental origin of mesoangioblasts, their phenotypic heterogeneity, and the relationship with other mesoderm stem cells are not understood in detail and are the subject of active research. However, from a practical point of view, these cells have been successfully used in cell transplantation protocols that have yielded a significant rescue of structure and function in skeletal muscle of dystrophic mice and dogs. Since the corresponding human cells have been recently isolated and characterized, a clinical trial with these cells is planned in the near future. This unit provides detailed methods for isolation, culture, and characterization of mesoangioblasts.
Copyright 2007 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.