Phenotypic and functional differences between human saphenous vein (HSVEC) and umbilical vein (HUVEC) endothelial cells


      The vascular endothelial cell (EC) plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of inflammation, transplant rejection and tumour metastasis. Most research on vascular ECs uses human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). However, HUVECs are derived from immune-naive foetal tissue, and show significant functional differences from adult vascular endothelium. In this paper, we characterise an alternative model based on human saphenous vein ECs (HSVECs), describe their culture conditions and provide a detailed functional comparison with HUVECs. Compared with HUVECs, HSVECs show an increased sensitivity to ox-LDL and a reduced response to cytokines, as indicated by adhesion molecule expression as well as leukocyte adhesion and transmigration. With respect to their ability to present antigen, HSVECs have a higher level of HLA-DR, CD40 and ICOS-L following cytokine stimulation. In addition, HSVECs upregulate the costimulatory ligand CD80 (B7.1) following CD40 ligation, and support allogeneic T cell proliferation, while HUVECs fail to express CD80. Due to differential expression of adhesion molecules, poorly differentiated tumour cell lines also showed more adhesion to HSVECs than to HUVECs. These results indicate that HSVECs have advantages over HUVECs for studying adult vascular endothelial pathology in vitro.


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