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Blood. 2005 Sep 1;106(5):1525-31. Epub 2005 May 19.

Unresolved questions, changing definitions, and novel paradigms for defining endothelial progenitor cells.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Herman B. Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, 1044 W Walnut St, R4-402E, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


The field of vascular biology has been stimulated by the concept that circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) may play a role in neoangiogenesis (postnatal vasculogenesis). One problem for the field has been the difficulty in accurately defining an EPC. Likewise, circulating endothelial cells (CECs) are not well defined. The lack of a detailed understanding of the proliferative potential of EPCs and CECs has contributed to the controversy in identifying these cells and understanding their biology in vitro or in vivo. A novel paradigm using proliferative potential as one defining aspect of EPC biology suggests that a hierarchy of EPCs exists in human blood and blood vessels. The potential implications of this view in relation to current EPC definitions are discussed.

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