Open Access

High-yield method for isolation and culture of endothelial cells from rat coronary blood vessels suitable for analysis of intracellular calcium and nitric oxide biosynthetic pathways

Biological Procedures Online4:41032

Received: 30 May 2002

Accepted: 15 August 2002


We describe here a method for isolating endothelial cells from rat heart blood vessels by means of coronary microperfusion with collagenase. This method makes it possible to obtain high amounts of endothelial cells in culture which retain the functional properties of their in vivo counterparts, including the ability to uptake fluorescently-labeled acetylated low-density lipoproteins and to respond to vasoactive agents by modulating intracellular calcium and by upregulating intrinsic nitric oxide generation. The main advantages of our technique are: (i) good reproducibility, (ii) accurate sterility that can be maintained throughout the isolation procedure and (iii) high yield of pure endothelial cells, mainly due to microperfusion and temperature-controlled incubation with collagenase which allow an optimal distribution of this enzyme within the coronary vascular bed.

Indexing terms

endothelial cells nitric oxide acetylated LDL DAF-2/DA Fura-2AM