A tag-less method for direct isolation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells by gravitational field-flow fractionation

Debora Lattuada, Barbara Roda, Chiara Pignatari, Ruben Magni, Federico Colombo, Alessandra Cattaneo, Andrea Zattoni, Irene Cetin, Pierluigi Reschiglian, Giorgio Bolis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The analysis of cellular and molecular profiles represents a powerful tool in many biomedical applications to identify the mechanisms underlying the pathological changes. The improvement of cellular starting material and the maintenance of the physiological status in the sample preparation are very useful. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) are a model for prediction of endothelial dysfunction. HUVEC are enzymatically removed from the umbilical vein by collagenase. This method provides obtaining a good sample yield. However, the obtained cells are often contaminated with blood cells and fibroblasts. Methods based on negative selection by in vitro passages or on the use of defined marker are currently employed to isolate target cells. However, these approaches cannot reproduce physiological status and they require expensive instrumentation. Here we proposed a new method for an easy, tag-less and direct isolation of HUVEC from raw umbilical cord sample based on the gravitational field-flow fractionation (GrFFF). This is a low-cost, fully biocompatible method with low instrumental and training investments for flow-assisted cell fractionation. The method allows obtaining pure cells without cell culture procedures as starting material for further analysis; for example, a proper amount of RNA can be extracted. The approach can be easily integrated into clinical and biomedical procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-984
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Gravitational field-flow fractionation (GrFFF)
  • HUVEC (Human umbilical vein endothelial cells)
  • Tag-less cell sorting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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