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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Cardiovasc. Med. | doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2019.00165

Single cell analysis of endothelial cells identified organ-specific molecular signatures and heart-specific cell populations and molecular features

 Guang Li1*,  Wei Feng1, Lyuqin Chen2 and  Sean M Wu3, 4, 5
  • 1Department of Developmental Biology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, United States
  • 2Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, Stanford University, United States
  • 3Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, School of Medicine, Stanford University, United States
  • 4Department of Medicine, Stanford University, United States
  • 5Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Stanford University, United States

The endothelial cell exists in the whole body by lining the inner surface of vasculature and plays an important role in normal physiology and disease progressions. Each organ should have a heterogeneous population of endothelial cells, but these heterogeneities have not been systematically analyzed at single cell level. The Tabular Muris project profiled mouse single cells from 20 organs, which includes endothelial cells in 10 organs. Unsupervised analysis of these endothelial cells found they were mainly grouped by organs, and each organ-specific cells were further partially correlated by germ layers. Unexpectedly, all lymphatic endothelial cells were found to group together regardless of their organ sources. To further understand the cellular heterogeneity in organ-specific endothelial cells, we used the heart as an example. Heart as a pump of the circulation system has multiple types of endothelial cells. Detailed analysis of these cells identified an endocardial endothelial cell population, a coronary vascular endothelial cell population, and an aorta-specific cell population. Through integrated analysis with aorta single cell data in another two studies, we identified the cell populations and molecular markers that are conserved across all three studies. In summary, by reanalyzing the existing single-cell mRNA sequencing data, we identified organ-specific endothelial cell molecular signatures and heart-specific endothelial cell subpopulations and molecular markers. We expect these findings will pave the way to deeper understand the vascular biology and endothelial cell-related diseases.

Keywords: endothelial cell, Single cell mRNA sequencing, Lymphatic vascular, Germ layer, Heart, Aorta

Received: 09 Jul 2019; Accepted: 30 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Li, Feng, Chen and Wu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Guang Li, Department of Developmental Biology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, Pennsylvania, United States,