Isolation and culture of the three vascular cell types from a small vein biopsy sample

  • Guillaume Grenier
  • Murielle Rémy-Zolghadri
  • Rina Guignard
  • François Bergeron
  • Raymond Labbé
  • François A. Auger
  • Lucie Germain
Articles Cell and Tissue Modesl


The availability of small-diameter blood vessels remains a significant problem in vascular reconstruction. In small-diameter blood vessels, synthetic grafts resulted in low patency; the addition of endothelial cells (EC) has clearly improved this parameter, thereby proving the important contribution of the cellular component to the functionality of any construct. Because the optimal source of cells should be autologous, the adaptation of existing methods for the isolation of all the vascular cell types present in a single and small biopsy sample, thus reducing patient’s morbidity, is a first step toward future clinical applications of any newly developed tissue-engineered blood vessel. This study describes such a cell-harvesting procedure from vein biopsy samples of canine and human origin. For this purpose, we combined preexisting mechanical methods for the isolation of the three vascular cell types: EC by scraping of the endothelium using a scalpel blade, vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), and perivascular fibroblasts according to the explant method. Once in culture, cells rapidly grew with the high level of enrichment. The morphological, phenotypical, and functional expected criteria were maintained: EC formed cobblestone colonies, expressed the von Willebrand factor, and incorporated acetylated low-density lipoprotein (LDL); VSMC were elongated and contracted when challenged by vasoactive agents; perivascular fibroblasts formed a mechanically resistant structure. Thus, we demonstrated that an appropriate combination of preexisting harvesting methods is suitable to isolate simultaneously the vascular cell types present in a single biopsy sample. Their functional characteristics indicated that they were suitable for the cellularization of synthetic prosthesis or the reconstruction of functional multicellular autologous organs by tissue engineering.

Key words

mechanical harvesting endothelial cell smooth muscle cell perivascular fibroblast self-assembly approach functional tissue engineering 


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Copyright information

© Society for In Vitro Biology 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guillaume Grenier
    • 1
  • Murielle Rémy-Zolghadri
    • 1
  • Rina Guignard
    • 1
  • François Bergeron
    • 1
  • Raymond Labbé
    • 1
  • François A. Auger
    • 1
  • Lucie Germain
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Organogenèse Expérimentale (LOEX)Hôpital du Saint-Sacrement du CHAchemin Sainte-FoyCanada

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