Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Department of Medicine and Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA
Abstract: The growth of new blood vessels is a critical factor in many human diseases including cancer, ischemic injury and wound healing. De novo vessel formation or vasculogenesis was thought to take place solely in the embryo from mesodermal progenitor cells, whereas the vasculature in postnatal life was considered to undergo remodeling through expansion of pre-existing endothelial cells, or angiogenesis. Current evidence suggests that endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) also exist in adult organisms as circulating cells originating in the bone marrow. They can be mobilized after vascular trauma, myocardial infarction, tissue injury, or during peripheral vascular disease, by a number of growth factors and chemokines like VEGF, GM-CSF, G-CSF and SDF-1. EPCs do not appear to represent a distinct or homogeneous cell population, but they are defined as cells that can give rise to endothelial progeny under certain circumstances in culture or in vivo. EPCs enhance tissue revascularization by contributing to new vessels and stimulating local angiogenesis, thus offering novel ways to regulate vascular growth. Results from the first clinical studies using mostly bone marrow stem cells as a source of EPCs have been encouraging, emphasizing the therapeutic potential of endothelial progenitor cells. This review summarizes the role of EPCs in the formation of new blood vessels and provides an outline of their biological characteristics and potential use in the clinical setting
Keywords: endothelial progenitor cell, neovasculogenesis, cell therapy
Correspondence to: Antonis K. Hatzopoulos Ph.D., Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Departments of Medicine and Cell & Developmental Biology, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, 2220 Pierce Ave, PRB 383, Nashville, TN 37232-6300, U. S. A., E-mail: [email protected] Tel: (615) 936 5529 FAX: (615) 936 1872,
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