Progenitor cells in vascular repair

Qingbo Xu
Current Opinion in Lipidology 2007, 18 (5): 534-9

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: A common characteristic of all types of vascular disease is endothelial dysfunction/damage followed by an inflammatory response. Although mature endothelial cells can proliferate and replace damaged cells in the vessel wall, recent findings indicate an impact of stem and progenitor cells in repair process. This review aims to briefly summarize the recent findings in stem/progenitor cell research relating to vascular diseases, focusing on the role of stem/progenitor cells in vascular repair.

RECENT FINDINGS: It has been demonstrated that endothelial progenitor cells present in the blood have an ability to repair damaged arterial-wall endothelium. These cells may be derived from a variety of sources, including bone marrow, spleen, liver, fat tissues and the adventitia of the arterial wall. In response to cytokine released from damaged vessel wall and adhered platelets, circulating progenitor cells home in on the damaged areas. It was also reported that the adhered progenitor cells can engraft into endothelium and may differentiate into mature endothelial cells.

SUMMARY: Vascular progenitor cells derived from different tissues have an ability to repair damaged vessel, in which the local microenvironment of the progenitors plays a crucial role in orchestrating cell homing and differentiation.

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