Introduction: The differentiated cell lineages from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have shown their potential in regenerative medicine. However, the functional and transcriptional microRNA (miRNA) expression pattern during endothelial differentiation has yet to be characterized.
Methods: In this study, hESCs and hiPSCs were differentiated into endothelial cells (ECs). Then the endothelial-related gene profiling and miRNA profiling of hiPSCs, hESCs, hiPSCs derived endothelial cells (hiPSC-ECs), hESC derived endothelial cells (hESC-ECs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were compared using RT-PCR Array. The data was analyzed using the data analysis system on QIAGEN's website.
Results: Our analysis demonstrated that the endothelial differentiation was triggered after EB formation and the EC-associated genes were up-regulated swiftly in both hESC-EBs and hiPSC-EBs; hiPSC-ECs and hESC-ECs had the similar EC-associated gene expression patterns. Moreover, we report here the first miRNA profiling study of hiPSC-ECs. Analyzing 376 unique miRNAs, we have identified several interesting miRNAs, including miR-20a, miR-20b, miR-222, miR-210, which have been previously reported to be involved in endothelial differentiation and show surprising expression patterns across our samples. We also identified novel miRNAs, such as miR-125a-5p, miR-149, miR-296-5p, miR-100, miR-27b, miR-181a and miR-137, which were up-regulated in both hiPSC-ECs and hESC-ECs during endothelial differentiation.
Conclusion: hiPSC-ECs and hESC-ECs exhibited a high degree of similarity with HUVECs in EC-associated genes expression. And the miRNA profiling analysis revealed significant differences between hiPSCs and hESCs, but a high degree of similarity between hiPSC-ECs and hESC-ECs.