Dysfunction of iPSC-derived endothelial cells in human Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome

Children with Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) succumb to myocardial infarction and stroke in their teen years. Endothelial dysfunction is an early event in more common forms of atherosclerosis. Endothelial pathobiology may contribute to HGPS, but a comprehensive characterization of endothelial function in HGPS has not been performed.

iPSCs derived from fibroblasts of HGPS patients or unaffected relatives were differentiated into endothelial cells (ECs). Immunofluorescent signal of the pluripotent stem cell markers SSEA4, Oct4, Sox2 and TRAI-60 was similar in HGPS or control iPSCs. Following the differentiation, FACS analysis and immunocytochemistry for CD31 and CD144 revealed a smaller percentage of ECs from HGPS iPSCs. Immunostaining for Lamin A revealed nuclear dysmorphology in HGPS iPSC-ECs. Furthermore, these cells were significantly larger and rounded, and they proliferated less, features which are typical of senescent endothelial cells. HGPS iPSC-ECs manifested less Dil-Ac-LDL uptake; less DAF-2DA staining for nitric oxide generation and formed fewer networks in matrigel in vitro. In immunodeficient mice injected with iPSC-ECs, HGPS iPSC-ECs generated a sparser vascular network compared to the control, with reduced capillary number. Telomere length (T/S ratio) of HGPS iPSC-EC was reduced as assessed by mmqPCR.

iPSC-ECs derived from HGPS patients have dysmorphic appearance, abnormal nuclear morphology, shortened telomeres, reduced replicative capacity and impaired functions in vitro and in vivo. Targeting the endothelial abnormality in patients with HGPS may provide a new therapeutic avenue for the treatment of this condition.

Abbreviations: HGPS: Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome; ZMPSTE24: Zinc metallopeptidase STE24; FTI: Farnesyltransferase inhibitors; VSMCs: Vascular smooth muscle cells; iPSC: Induced pluripotent stem cells; EC: Endothelial cells; hTERT: Human telomerase reverse transcriptase; VEGF: vascular endothelial growth factor; DAF-FM DA: 3-Amino, 4-aminomethyl-2’,7’-difluorofluorescein diacetate; BMP4: Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4; mmqPCR: mono chrome multiplex PCR; SCG: single-copy gene; CSI: Cell shape index.