Journal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine | 28 Apr 2018
E Bauman, PL Granja and CC Barrias
Two decades after the first report on endothelial progenitor cells (EPC), their key role in postnatal vasculogenesis and vascular repair is well established. The therapeutic potential of EPC and their growing use in clinical trials calls for the development of more robust, reproducible and safer methods for the in vitro expansion and maintenance of these cells. Despite many limitations associated with its usage, fetal bovine serum (FBS) is still widely applied as a cell culture supplement. While different approaches aiming at establishing FBS-free culture have been developed for many cell types, adequate solutions for endothelial cells, and for EPC in particular, are still scarce, possibly due to the multiple challenges that have to be faced when culturing these cells. In this review, we provide a brief overview on the therapeutic relevance of EPC, and critically analyze the available literature on FBS-free endothelial cell culture methods, including xeno-free, serum-free and chemically defined systems.
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