11 January 2007
Background: In vitrostudies using cell lines are useful for the understanding of cellular mechanisms. The purpose of our study is to develop a new immortalized aortic vascular endothelial cell (EC) line that retains endothelial characteristics and can facilitate the study of ECs. Methods: A mouse aortic vascular EC line (MAEC) was established from p53-deficient mouse aorta and cultured for over 100 passages. The expression of endothelial markers was assessed, and the function of this cell line was analyzed by tube formation and binding assays. Results: MAEC retained many endothelial properties such as cobblestone appearance, contact-inhibited growth, active uptake of acetylated low-density lipoprotein, existence of Weibel-Palade bodies and several EC markers. MAECs exhibited tube formation activity both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, crucially, tumor necrosis factor α, an inflammatory cytokine, promoted lymphocyte adhesion to MAECs, suggesting that MAECs may facilitate the study of atherosclerosis and local inflammatory reactions in vitro. Conclusion: We describe the morphological and cell biological characteristics of MAEC, providing strong evidence that it retained endothelial properties. This novel cell line can be a useful tool for studying the biology of ECs.