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Lymphology. 2012 Dec;45(4):177-87.

Differentiation of lymphatic endothelial cells from bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells with VEGFs.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Shandong University School of Medicine, Jinan, Shandong, P.R. China.


Although there have been many experimental studies demonstrating that bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the potential to differentiate into mesenchymal tissues such as osteocytes, chondrocytes, and adipocytes in vivo and in vitro, little information is available regarding their potential to differentiate into lymphatic endothelial cells. Therefore, we chose to investigate differentiation of MSCs into lymphatic endothelial cells using stimulation with members of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFs) family. Rat MSCs were isolated from bone marrow aspirate of Sprague-Dawley rats as previously described and characterized with flow cytometry for surface markers CD14, CD34, CD29, and CD90. Purified MSCs were plated and cultured in the presence of VEGF-A, VEGF-C, or the combination of both for 10 days. We examined the cells for Prox-1 and LYVE-1 by immunocytochemistry, RT-PCR, and Western blot analysis. Results demonstrated that compared to controls, cell differentiated with VEGF-A, VEGF-C and VEGF-A+VEGF-C expressed Prox-1 and LYVE-1. Our results indicate that MSCs induced by VEGFs are capable of differentiating into lymphatic endothelial-like cells in vitro, and this response has the potential to make them attractive candidates for the development of autologous tissue grafts for future therapy.

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