Interactions of Human Endothelial and Multipotent Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Cocultures

Christina Ern 1, 3, Vera Krump-Konvalinkova 2, Denitsa Docheva 1, Stefanie Schindler 1, Oliver Rossmann 1, Wolfgang Böcker 1, Wolf Mutschler 1, Matthias Schieker*, 1
1 Experimental Surgery and Regenerative Medicine, Department of Surgery, University of Munich (LMU), Munich, Germany
2 Institute for Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Munich (LMU), Munich, Germany
3 Department of Restorative Dentistry & Periodontology University of Munich (LMU), Munich, Germany

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© Ern et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Surgery, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Nussbaumstrasse 20, D-80336 Munich, Germany; Tel: +49 89 5160 7589; Fax: +49 89 5160 5482; E-mail:


Current strategies for tissue engineering of bone rely on the implantation of scaffolds, colonized with human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC), into a recipient. A major limitation is the lack of blood vessels. One approach to enhance the scaffold vascularisation is to supply the scaffolds with endothelial cells (EC).

The main goal of this study was to establish a coculture system of hMSC and EC for the purposes of bone tissue engineering. Therefore, the cell behaviour, proliferation and differentiation capacity in various cell culture media as well as cell interactions in the cocultures were evaluated.

The differentiation capacity of hMSC along osteogenic, chondrogenic, and adipogenic lineage was impaired in EC medium while in a mixed EC and hMSC media, hMSC maintained osteogenic differentiation. In order to identify and trace EC in the cocultures, EC were transduced with eGFP. Using time-lapse imaging, we observed that hMSC and EC actively migrated towards cells of their own type and formed separate clusters in long term cocultures. The scarcity of hMSC and EC contacts in the cocultures suggest the influence of growth factor-mediated cell interactions and points to the necessity of further optimization of the coculture conditions.

Keywords: Coculture, endothelial cells, mesenchymal stem cells, differentiation, time-lapse, tissue engineering of bone..