The role of endothelial progenitor cells in vascular repair after arterial injury and atherosclerotic plaque development.
Briasoulis A., Tousoulis D., Antoniades C., Papageorgiou N., Stefanadis C.
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are under investigation due to their association with vascular injury. In response to chemotactic stimuli they are mobilized from bone-marrow and nonbone marrow sites, they migrate, adhere and home to the injured vessel. Numerous molecular and cellular pathways participate and converge to the EPCs mediated vascular repair. However, the exact phenotypic properties, modes of functions and effects in vascular diseases and particularly in atherosclerosis are under investigation. EPCs represent a heterogeneous group of cells in different stages of differentiation, from hematopoietic bone marrow progenitors to mature endothelial cells that participate in adult vascular repair under ischemic or apoptotic stimuli. This review aims to provide an integrative view of EPC-mediated vascular repair.