Effects of Shear Stress on Endothelial Progenitor Cells
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are adult stem cells that play a central role in neovascularization. EPCs are mobilized from bone marrow into peripheral blood, attach to existing endothelial cells, and then transmigrate across the endothelium into tissues, where they proliferate, differentiate, and form new blood vessels. In the process, EPCs are exposed to shear stress, a biomechanical force generated by flowing blood and tissue fluid flow. When cultured EPCs are exposed to controlled levels of shear stress in a flow-loading device, their bioactivities in terms of proliferation, anti-apoptosis, migration, production of bioactive substances, anti-thrombosis, and tube formation increase markedly. Expression of endothelial marker genes and proteins by EPCs also increases in response to shear stress, and they differentiate into mature endothelial cells. Great advances have been made in elucidating the mechanisms by which mature endothelial cells sense and respond to shear stress, but not in EPCs. Further study of EPC responses to shear stress will be necessary to better understand the physiological and pathophysiological roles of EPCs and to apply EPCs to new therapies in the field of regenerative medicine.
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Document Type: Review Article
Publication date: October 1, 2014
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