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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2004 Aug;287(2):H512-7. Epub 2004 Apr 8.

Modulation of the vascular response to injury by autologous blood-derived outgrowth endothelial cells.

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  • 1Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, ochester, MN 55905, USA.


Delivery of a heterogeneous population of cells with endothelial phenotype derived from peripheral blood has been shown to improve vascular responses after balloon arterial injury in an endothelium-dependent manner. Refinement of culture techniques has enabled the generation of outgrowth endothelial cells (OECs), a homogeneous population of distinctly endothelial cells expanded from circulating progenitor cells. The present study tested the hypothesis that OEC delivery would confer vascular protection after balloon arterial injury in a rabbit model. Rabbit peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were cultured in endothelial growth medium for 4-5 wk, yielding proliferative OECs with distinct endothelial phenotype (morphology, incorporation of acetylated LDL, and expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and caveolin-1 but not CD14). Animals underwent balloon carotid injury immediately followed by local delivery of autologous OECs for 20 min. Fluorescent-labeled OECs were detected in all layers at 4 wk, with immunostaining revealing maintenance of endothelial phenotype (von Willebrand factor-positive and RAM-11-negative) by luminal and nonluminal cells. To evaluate functional effects, additional animals received autologous OECs, saline, or freshly harvested PBMCs as noncultured cell controls by local dwell after balloon injury. Local OEC delivery improved endothelium-dependent vasoreactivity (P < 0.05 vs. saline and PBMC) and similarly reduced neointimal formation (P < 0.05 vs. saline and PBMC). These data suggest that OECs can be detected in injured arterial segments at 4 wk. Moreover, delivery of OECs confers greater vascular protection than PBMCs or saline controls and may thus offer a novel, autologous strategy to limit the response to mechanical injury.

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