Vascular endothelial cells play an important role in progression or healing of various retinal or choroidal diseases and they have a broad organ specificity. We have grown and studied human choroidal endothelial cells (CECs) cultured in a collagen gel, where they form tube-like structures. CECs were differentially isolated from choroidal tissues and cultured to near homogeneity. The cells were embedded in a type I collagen gel in 24-well culture dishes and incubated with M199 medium containing 10% fetal calf serum. Gels were observed using phase contrast microscopy and were evaluated histologically by light and electron microscopy. The CECs were strongly positive for factor VIII-related antigen and actively ingested diI-acetylated LDL, indicating their endothelial nature. Ultrastructural analysis of the tube-like structures revealed a central lumen surrounded by cells joined apically by junctions and showing prominent pinocytotic activity, fenestrations and basement membrane formation; these features are typical of CECs in vivo. This preparation should be a useful tool to study the development of physiology and pathology of choroidal endothelium.