Tissue Eng Regen Med.  2021 Jun;18(3):429-440. 10.1007/s13770-021-00332-5.

A Novel Hypothesis and Characterization to Isolate Microvascular Endothelial Cells Simultaneously with AdiposeDerived Stem Cells from the Human Adipose-Derived Stromal Vascular Fraction

  • 1Department of Biomedicine and Health Sciences, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, 222 Banpodaero, Seocho-gu, Seoul 06591, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul 06591, Republic of Korea
  • 3Center for Biomaterials, Biomedical Research Institute, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Seoul 02792, Republic of Korea


Angiogenesis and vasculogenesis are essential processes for successful tissue regeneration in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The adipose-derived stromal vascular fraction (SVF) is not only a source of adipose stem cells (ASC) but also a suitable source of microvascular endothelial cells because it is a rich capillary network. So, we propose a new hypothesis for isolating adipose-derived human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC-A) from the SVF and developed a dual isolation system that isolates two cell types from one tissue. METHOD: To isolate HMVEC-A, we analyzed the supernatant discarded when ASC is isolated from the adipose-derived SVF. Based on this analysis, we assumed that the SVF adherent to the bottom of the culture plate was divided into two fractions: the stromal fraction as the ASC-rich fraction, and the vascular fraction (VF) as the endothelial cells-rich fraction floating in the culture supernatant. VF isolation was optimized and the efficiency was compared, and the endothelial cells characteristics of HMVEC-A were confirmed by flow cytometric analysis, immunocytochemistry (ICC), a DiI-acetylated low-density lipoprotein (DiI-Ac-LDL) uptake, and in vitro tube formation assay.
Consistent with the hypothesis, we found a large population of HMVEC-A in the VF and isolated these HMVEC-A by our isolation method. Additionally, this method had higher yields and shorter doubling times than other endothelial cells isolation methods and showed typical morphological and phenotypic characteristics of endothelial cells.
Cells obtained by the method according to our hypothesis can be applied as a useful source for studies such as tissue-to-tissue networks, angiogenesis and tissue regeneration, patient-specific cell therapy, and organoid chips.


Microvascular endothelial cells; Stromal vascular fraction; Adipose tissue; Cell isolation
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