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Ann Vasc Surg. 2008 May-Jun;22(3):440-8. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2008.03.004.

Cell viability and prostacyclin release in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells.

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Division of Vascular Surgery, Virgen de la Victoria Hospital, Malaga, Spain.


Construction of efficient substitutes of human blood vessels is strongly dependent on the use of viable and fully functional cultured endothelial cells (ECs). However, very few reports have been published to date focused on the evaluation of cell viability of cultured ECs. In this work, we have determined cell viability, von Willebrand factor, and prostacyclin (PGI(2)) activity in primary cell cultures of human umbilical vein ECs, to identify the specific cell passage that is more appropriate for the development of artificial organs by tissue engineering. Cell viability was determined by quantification of the intracellular concentration of several ions by highly sensitive electron probe X-ray microanalysis, whereas von Willebrand was assayed by immunohistochemistry and PGI(2) release was quantified by radioimmunoassay. The results of our analyses demonstrate that the K/Na ratio was different for each cell passage (4.72 for the first passage, 4.55 for the second passage, and 7.82 for the third passage), suggesting that the highest cell viability corresponds to the third passage. In contrast, PGI(2) production was higher at the first two cell passages, with a significant decrease at the third passage (6.46 +/- 0.10, 5.98 +/- 0.08, and 1.62 +/- 0.05 ng/mL of supernatant for the first, second, and third passages, respectively), whereas von Willebrand expression was similar among the three cell passages analyzed in this work (64.12%, 66.66%, 65.93% of positive cells, respectively). These data suggest that cells corresponding to the second cell passage show the best ratio of viability to functionality and should therefore be used for tissue engineering protocols.

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