Endothelial cells (ECs) play a major role in blood vessel formation and function. While there is longstanding evidence for the potential of chemical exposures to adversely affect EC function and vascular development, the hazard potential of chemicals with respect to vascular effects is not routinely evaluated in safety assessments. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived ECs promise to provide a physiologically relevant, organotypic culture model that is amenable for high-throughput (HT) EC toxicant screening and may represent a viable alternative to traditional in vitro models, including human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). To evaluate the utility of iPSC-ECs for multidimensional HT toxicity profiling of chemicals, both iPSC-ECs and HUVECs were exposed to selected positive (angiogenesis inhibitors, cytotoxic agents) and negative compounds in concentration response for either 16 or 24 h in a 384-well plate format. Furthermore, chemical effects on vascularization were quantified using EC angiogenesis on biological (Geltrex™) and synthetic (SP-105 angiogenesis hydrogel) extracellular matrices. Cellular toxicity was assessed using high-content live cell imaging and the CellTiter-Glo® assay. Assay performance indicated good to excellent assay sensitivity and reproducibility for both cell types investigated. Both iPSC-derived ECs and HUVECs formed tube-like structures on Geltrex™ and hydrogel, an effect that was inhibited by angiogenesis inhibitors and cytotoxic agents in a concentration-dependent manner. The quality of HT assays in HUVECs was generally higher than that in iPSC-ECs. Altogether, this study demonstrates the capability of ECs for comprehensive assessment of the biological effects of chemicals on vasculature in a HT compatible format.
Keywords: angiogenesis; endothelial cells; high-throughput; iPSC-derived cells.