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Cell Cycle. 2004 Jun;3(6):811-6. Epub 2004 Jun 19.

Maintenance of G1 checkpoint controls in telomerase-immortalized endothelial cells.

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Vascular Biology Program, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Here we report the characterization of a series of telomerase-immortalized human umbilical vein endothelial cell lines (i-HUVEC). These cells maintain endothelial characteristics such as marker expression, dependence on basic fibroblast growth factor for proliferation, and the ability to form tube structures on Matrigel. In addition, these cells do not show signs of tumorigenic transformation because their growth is contact-inhibited, serum-dependent, and anchorage-dependent. In addition, i-HUVEC do not grow or survive when implanted subcutaneously in immunocompromised mice. Notably, the i-HUVEC lines maintain normal p53-dependent checkpoint control, inducing expression of p21(Cip1/Waf1) in response to DNA damage. These cells subsequently decrease phosphorylation of pRb and arrest in G1. Furthermore, the i-HUVEC lines maintain normal p53-independent checkpoint control, inducing expression of p27(Kip1) in response to lovastatin treatment, with a subsequent decrease in pRb phosphorylation. Lovastatin-treated i-HUVEC lines undergo a G1 arrest that can be reversed with comparable kinetics to that of low passage HUVEC. Together these data demonstrate that telomerase-immortalized endothelial cells can retain normal phenotypes and cell cycle regulation. This result could have significant implications in the study of angiogenic processes such as tumor growth, wound healing, and the vascularization of engineered tissue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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