Theranostics 2022; 12(10):4684-4702. doi:10.7150/thno.69938 This issue

Research Paper

3D culturing of human pluripotent stem cells-derived endothelial cells for vascular regeneration

Edit Gara1, Eleonora Zucchelli2, Annamária Nemes1, Zoltán Jakus3,4, Kitti Ajtay3,4, Éva Kemecsei3,4, Gábor Kiszler5, Nikolett Hegedűs6, Krisztián Szigeti6, Iván Földes1, Kristóf Árvai7, János Kósa7, Kraszimir Kolev8, Erzsébet Komorowicz8, Parasuraman Padmanabhan9, Pál Maurovich-Horvat1, Edit Dósa1, György Várady10, Miklós Pólos1, István Hartyánszky1, Sian E. Harding2, Béla Merkely1, Domokos Máthé6, Gábor Szabó11,12, Tamás Radovits1, Gábor Földes1,2✉

1. Heart and Vascular Center, Semmelweis University, Budapest, H1122, Hungary.
2. National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, W12 0NN, United Kingdom.
3. Department of Physiology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, H1094, Hungary.
4. MTA-SE “Lendület” Lymphatic Physiology Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Semmelweis University, Budapest, H1094, Hungary.
5. 3D HISTECH Ltd., Budapest, H1141, Hungary.
6. Department of Biophysics and Radiation Biology, Nanobiotechnology & In vivo Imaging Center, Semmelweis University, H1094, Budapest, Hungary and In vivo Imaging Advanced Core Facility, Hungarian Centre of Excellence for Molecular Medicine., Szeged, Hungary.
7. Department of Internal Medicine and Oncology, Semmelweis University; PentaCore Laboratory, Budapest, H1083, Hungary.
8. Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, H1094, Hungary.
9. Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Imperial College - Nanyang Technological University, 636921, Singapore.
10. Research Centre for Natural Sciences, Budapest, H1117, Hungary.
11. Experimentelle Herzchirurgie, Ruprecht-Karls Universität, Heidelberg, 69120, Germany.
12. Department of Cardiac Surgery, University of Halle, Halle (Saale), 06108, Germany.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Gara E, Zucchelli E, Nemes A, Jakus Z, Ajtay K, Kemecsei É, Kiszler G, Hegedűs N, Szigeti K, Földes I, Árvai K, Kósa J, Kolev K, Komorowicz E, Padmanabhan P, Maurovich-Horvat P, Dósa E, Várady G, Pólos M, Hartyánszky I, Harding SE, Merkely B, Máthé D, Szabó G, Radovits T, Földes G. 3D culturing of human pluripotent stem cells-derived endothelial cells for vascular regeneration. Theranostics 2022; 12(10):4684-4702. doi:10.7150/thno.69938. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Rationale: Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells can be candidates for engineering therapeutic vascular grafts.

Methods: Here, we studied the role of three-dimensional culture on their characteristics and function both in vitro and in vivo.

Results: We found that differentiated hPSC-EC can re-populate decellularized biomatrices; they remain viable, undergo maturation and arterial/venous specification. Human PSC-EC develop antifibrotic, vasoactive and anti-inflammatory properties during recellularization. In vivo, a robust increase in perfusion was detected at the engraftment sites after subcutaneous implantation of an hPSC-EC-laden hydrogel in rats. Histology confirmed survival and formation of capillary-like structures, suggesting the incorporation of hPSC-EC into host microvasculature. In a canine model, hiPSC-EC-seeded onto decellularised vascular segments were functional as aortic grafts. Similarly, we showed the retention and maturation of hiPSC-EC and dynamic remodelling of the vessel wall with good maintenance of vascular patency.

Conclusions: A combination of hPSC-EC and biomatrices may be a promising approach to repair ischemic tissues.

Keywords: human pluripotent stem cells, endothelial cells, angiogenesis tracking, tissue-engineered vascular grafts, multimodality imaging