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Herz. 2002 Nov;27(7):579-88.

Endothelial progenitor cells: regulation and contribution to adult neovascularization.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine IV, University of Frankfurt, Germany.



Recent studies suggest that circulating progenitor cells contribute to the formation of new blood vessels in adults after tissue ischemia. The infusion of these progenitor cells was used as a therapeutic approach to increase vascularization. In several animal models, progenitor cells improved vascularization and capillary density after peripheral or myocardial ischemia. Moreover, transplantation or progenitor cells increased cardiac function after myocardial ischemia. These studies suggest a potential use of progenitor cells for improvement of therapeutic vasculogenesis in patients with ischemic heart disease.


The present article will summarize these findings gained in experimental models. Moreover, novel approaches to increase the function and the number of circulating progenitor cells by pharmacological modulation (cytokines, statins) or gene therapy (VEGF) will be highlighted.


Identification of mediators and cellular mechanisms that promote organ-specific recruitment of bone-marrow derived circulating progenitor cells as well as modulation of progenitor cell engraftment will lead to new strategies in order to improve neovascularization and cardiac regeneration in patients with ischemic heart disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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