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Therapeutic Potential of Endothelial Progenitor Cells for Cardiovascular Diseases

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In the past decade, researchers have defined committed stem or progenitor cells from various tissues, including bone marrow, peripheral blood, brain, liver and reproductive organs, in both adult animals and humans. Recently, endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) were isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells and were shown to be incorporated into foci of neovascularization. This finding that circulating EPCs may home into sites of neovascularization and differentiate into mature endothelial cells in situ is consistent with the concept of 'vasculogenesis' and suggests that vasculogenesis and angiogenesis might constitute complementary mechanisms for postnatal neovascularization. Furthermore, experimental and clinical studies on ischemic cardiovascular diseases suggest a therapeutic potential for EPC transplantation. In this review, we summarize the biological features of EPCs and discuss their therapeutic potential for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.





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Keywords: Angiogenesis; neovascularization; stem cell; transplantation; vasculogenesis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Organ Regeneration, Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine, Matsumoto, Nagano 390-8621, Japan;

Publication date: January 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Vascular disease is the commonest cause of death in Westernized countries and its incidence is on the increase in developing countries. It follows that considerable research is directed at establishing effective treatment for acute vascular events. Long-term treatment has also received considerable attention (e.g. for symptomatic relief). Furthermore, effective prevention, whether primary or secondary, is backed by the findings of several landmark trials.

    Vascular disease is a complex field with primary care physicians and nurse practitioners as well as several specialties involved. The latter include cardiology, vascular and cardio thoracic surgery, general medicine, radiology, clinical pharmacology and neurology (stroke units). Current Vascular Pharmacology will publish reviews to update all those concerned with the treatment of vascular disease. For example, reviews commenting on recently published trials or new drugs will be included. In addition to clinically relevant topics we will consider 'research-based' reviews dealing with future developments and potential drug targets. Therefore, another function of Current Vascular Pharmacology is to bridge the gap between clinical practice and ongoing research.

    Debates will also be encouraged in the correspondence section of this journal.
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