Standardized and Scalable Assay to Study Perfused 3D Angiogenic Sprouting of iPSC-derived Endothelial Cells In Vitro

J Vis Exp. 2019 Nov 6;(153). doi: 10.3791/59678.


Pre-clinical drug research of vascular diseases requires in vitro models of vasculature that are amendable to high-throughput screening. However, current in vitro screening models that have sufficient throughput only have limited physiological relevance, which hinders the translation of findings from in vitro to in vivo. On the other hand, microfluidic cell culture platforms have shown unparalleled physiological relevancy in vitro, but often lack the required throughput, scalability and standardization. We demonstrate a robust platform to study angiogenesis of endothelial cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC-ECs) in a physiological relevant cellular microenvironment, including perfusion and gradients. The iPSC-ECs are cultured as 40 perfused 3D microvessels against a patterned collagen-1 scaffold. Upon the application of a gradient of angiogenic factors, important hallmarks of angiogenesis can be studied, including the differentiation into tip- and stalk cell and the formation of perfusable lumen. Perfusion with fluorescent tracer dyes enables the study of permeability during and after anastomosis of the angiogenic sprouts. In conclusion, this method shows the feasibility of iPSC-derived ECs in a standardized and scalable 3D angiogenic assay that combines physiological relevant culture conditions in a platform that has the required robustness and scalability to be integrated within the drug screening infrastructure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Microenvironment
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Microvessels
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology*