The human body contains different endothelial cell types and differences in their angiogenic potential are poorly understood. We compared the functional angiogenic ability of human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) using a three-dimensional (3D) microfluidic cell culture system. HAECs and HUVECs exhibited similar cellular characteristics in a 2D culture system; however, in the 3D microfluidic angiogenesis system, HAECs exhibited stronger angiogenic potential than HUVECs. Interestingly, the expression level of fibroblast growth factor (FGF)2 and FGF5 under vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A stimulation was significantly higher in HAECs than in HUVECs. Moreover, small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of FGF2 and FGF5 more significantly attenuated vascular sprouting induced from HAECs than HUVECs. Our results suggest that HAECs have greater angiogenic potential through FGF2 and FGF5 upregulation and could be a compatible endothelial cell type to achieve robust angiogenesis.
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