Integration of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells with polycaprolactone/gelatin-based electrospun scaffolds for enhanced therapeutic angiogenesis

Richard P. Tan, Alex H.P. Chan, Katarina Lennartsson, Maria M. Miravet, Bob S.L. Lee, Jelena Rnjak-Kovacina, Zoe E. Clayton, John P. Cooke, Martin K.C. Ng, Sanjay Patel, Steven G. Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Induced pluripotent stem-cell derived endothelial cells (iPSC-ECs) can be generated from any somatic cell and their iPSC sources possess unlimited self-renewal. Previous demonstration of their proangiogenic activity makes them a promising cell type for treatment of ischemic injury. As with many other stem cell approaches, the low rate of in-vivo survival has been a major limitation to the efficacy of iPSC-ECs to date. In this study, we aimed to increase the in-vivo lifetime of iPSC-ECs by culturing them on electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL)/gelatin scaffolds, before quantifying the subsequent impact on their proangiogenic function. Methods: iPSC-ECs were isolated and stably transfected with a luciferase reporter to facilitate quantification of cell numbers and non-invasive imaging in-vivo PCL/gelatin scaffolds were engineered using electrospinning to obtain woven meshes of nanofibers. iPSC-ECs were cultured on scaffolds for 7 days. Subsequently, cell growth and function were assessed in vitro followed by implantation in a mouseback subcutaneous model for 7 days. Results: Using a matrix of conditions, we found that scaffold blends with ratios of PCL:gelatin of 70:30 (PG73) spun at high flow rates supported the greatest levels of iPSC-EC growth, retention of phenotype, and function in vitro. Implanting iPSC-ECs seeded on PG73 scaffolds in vivo improved their survival up to 3 days, compared to cells directly injected into control wounds, which were no longer observable within 1 h. Enhanced engraftment improved blood perfusion, observed through non-invasive laser Doppler imaging. Immunohistochemistry revealed a corresponding increase in host angiogenic mechanisms characterized by the enhanced recruitment of macrophages and the elevated expression of proangiogenic cytokines vascular endothelial growth factor and placental growth factor. Conclusions: Knowledge of these mechanisms combined with a deeper understanding of the scaffold parameters influencing this function provides the groundwork for optimizing future iPSC-EC therapies utilizing engraftment platforms. The development of combined scaffold and iPSC-EC therapies could ultimately improve therapeutic angiogenesis and the treatment of ischemic injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number70
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 21 2018


  • Angiogenesis
  • Biomaterial scaffolds
  • Endothelial cells
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Regenerative medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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