Background: Angiogenesis is a critical part of the endogenous repair process in brain injury and disease, and requires at least two sequential steps. First, angiogenic sprouting of endothelial cells occurs, which entails the initial proliferation of endothelial cells and remodeling of the surrounding extracellular matrix. Second, vessel stabilization is necessary to prevent vascular regression, which relies on vascular smooth muscle recruitment to surround the young vessels. Marrow stromal cells (MSCs) have been shown to promote revascularization after hindlimb ischemia, cardiac ischemia, and stroke. SB623 cells are derived from marrow stromal cells by transfection with a Notch1 intracellular domain (NICD)-expressing plasmid and are known to elicit functional improvement in experimental stroke. These cells are currently used in human clinical testing for treatment of chronic stroke. In the current study, the angiogenic property of SB623 cells was investigated using cell-based assays.
Methods: Angiogenic paracrine factors secreted by SB623 cells and the parental MSCs were identified using the Qantibody Human Angiogenesis Array. To measure the angiogenic activity of conditioned medium from SB623 cells and MSCs, endothelial tube formation in the human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) assay and endothelial cell sprouting and branching in the rodent aortic ring assay were quantified. To validate the angiogenic contribution of VEGF in conditioned medium, endothelial cells and aortic rings were treated with SU5416, which inhibits VEGFR2 at low dose.
Results: Conditioned medium from SB623 cells promoted survival and proliferation of endothelial cells under serum-deprived conditions and supports HUVEC vascular tube formation. In a rodent aortic ring assay, there was enhanced endothelial sprouting and branching in response to SB623-derived conditioned medium. SU5416 treatment partially reversed the effect of conditioned medium on endothelial cell survival and proliferation while completely abrogate HUVEC tube formation and endothelial cell sprouting and branching in aortic ring assays.
Conclusions: These data indicate that SB623 cell-secreted angiogenic factors promoted several aspects of angiogenesis, which likely contribute to promoting recovery in the injured brain.