PURPOSE: Autologous sources of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial progenitor cells are attractive alternatives to cells currently used for bladder tissue regeneration. To evaluate the potential use of these cells we determined whether mesenchymal stem cells have contractile protein profiles and physiological functions similar to those of normal bladder smooth muscle cells, and determined the angiogenic potential of endothelial progenitor cells. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Mesenchymal stem cells and smooth muscle cells (Lonza, Gaithersburg, Maryland) underwent proliferation and Western blot analyses. Immunofluorescence imaging was performed using antibodies against smooth muscle cell epitopes. Contractility was assessed by intracellular Ca(2+) release assays and confocal microscopy after carbachol stimulation. Endothelial progenitor cells were evaluated using a chicken chorioallantoic membrane model to determine neo-angiogenic potential. RESULTS: Western blot and immunofluorescence data showed that mesenchymal stem cells endogenously expressed known smooth muscle cell contractile proteins at levels similar to those of smooth muscle cells. Ca(2+) release assays revealed that smooth muscle cells and mesenchymal stem cells responded to carbachol treatment with a mean +/- SD of 8.6 +/- 2.5 and 5.8 +/- 0.8 RFU, respectively, which was statistically indistinguishable. Proliferation trends of mesenchymal stem cells and control smooth muscle cells were also similar. Chorioallantoic membrane assay showed the growth of vasculature derived from endothelial progenitor cells. CONCLUSIONS: Data demonstrate that mesenchymal stem cells and smooth muscle cells express the same contractile proteins and can function similarly in vitro. Endothelial progenitor cells also have the ability to form vasculature in an in vivo chorioallantoic membrane model. These findings provide evidence that mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial progenitor cells have characteristics that may be applicable for bladder tissue regeneration.