Efficient derivation of endothelial cells and their progenitors from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) can facilitate studies of human vascular development, disease modeling, drug discovery, and cell-based therapy. Here we provide a detailed protocol for directing hPSCs to functional endothelial cells and their progenitors in a completely defined, growth factor- and serum-free system by temporal modulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling via small molecules. We demonstrate a 10-day, two-stage process that recapitulates endothelial cell development, in which hPSCs first differentiate to endothelial progenitors that then generate functional endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells. Methods to characterize endothelial cell identity and function are also described.
Human pluripotent stem cells Endothelial progenitors Endothelial cells Wnt signaling Chemically defined Growth factor-free Serum-free Small molecules
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This study was supported by NIH grant R01 EB007534 and NSF grant EFRI 0735903.
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