A human vascular endothelial cell model to study angiogenesis and tumorigenesis.
Van Waes C
Carcinogenesis. 1998 Apr . 19(4):673-81.
Endothelial cell biology has recently been the subject of considerable interest in thrombosis and cancer research. However, the successful establishment of immortalized human endothelial cells which retain differentiated cell characteristics has been rare. We have successfully established immortalized human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) by human papilloma virus (HPV)-16 E6-E7. HPV-16 E6, E7 and E6-E7 were successfully introduced into HUVEC cells. Both E6 and E7 cultures had an extended lifespan but eventually underwent senescence. E6-E7 cultures 4-5-2G, however, acquired an indefinite lifespan in culture but did not undergo malignant conversion. Telomerase activity was not detected in either E6 or E7 cultures; however, telomerase was detected in E6-E7 4-5-2G cells. The cells exhibited a 'cobblestone' morphology and developed a capillary-like tube structure upon reaching confluence. The 4-5-2G line expressed Factor VIII related antigen and took up DiI-Ac-LDL as markers of endothelial origin. The line expressed integrin subunits (alpha(v)beta3, alph(v)beta5, beta1, alpha2, alpha3, beta4 and alpha6) consistent with an endothelial origin. The higher passage of 4-5-2G line showed a similar intensity of integrin immunostaining to that of primary HUVECS. Subsequent infection of these immortal cells with the Kirsten murine sarcoma virus which contains an activated K-ras oncogene induced morphological transformation that led to the acquisition of invasion capability and neoplastic properties. Telomerase was also detected in the tumorigenic v-Ki-ras transformed cell line. These cell lines should be useful for studies of the molecular mechanisms underlying normal and neoplastic endothelial cell proliferation and migration, and might also provide an in vitro model for development of pharmacologic and gene therapy for cardiovascular thrombosis and cancer.