Document Type


Publication Date




Protection of cerebral endothelial cells (ECs) from hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R)-induced injury is an important strategy for treating ischemic stroke. In this study, we investigated whether co-culture with endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and neural progenitor cells (NPCs) synergistically protects cerebral ECs against H/R injury and the underlying mechanism.


EPCs and NPCs were respectively generated from inducible pluripotent stem cells. Human brain ECs were used to produce an in vitro H/R-injury model. Data showed: 1) Co-culture with EPCs and NPCs synergistically inhibited H/R-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) over-production, apoptosis, and improved the angiogenic and barrier functions (tube formation and permeability) in H/R-injured ECs. 2) Co-culture with NPCs up-regulated the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2). 3) Co-culture with EPCs and NPCs complementarily increased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in conditioned medium, and synergistically up-regulated the expression of p-Akt/Akt and p-Flk1/VEGFR2 in H/R-injured ECs. 4) Those effects could be decreased or abolished by inhibition of both VEGFR2 and tyrosine kinase B (TrkB) or phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K).


Our data demonstrate that EPCs and NPCs synergistically protect cerebral ECs from H/R-injury, via activating the PI3K/Akt pathway which mainly depends on VEGF and BDNF paracrine.


© 2016 Wang et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.