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Brain Pathol. 2003 Oct;13(4):582-97.

Minor contribution of bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitors to the vascularization of murine gliomas.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Freiburg University Medical School, Germany.


Until recently, it was generally accepted that the vascularization of solid tumors occurred exclusively through the sprouting and co-option from pre-existing blood vessels. Growing evidence now suggests that bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EP) circulate in the blood and may play an important role in the formation of new blood vessels in certain tumors. Whether endothelial progenitors participate in the vascularization of brain tumors has not yet been evaluated. In this study, we examined the contribution of EP to tumor angiogenesis in a murine glioma tumor model. Donor bone marrow cells obtained from transgenic mice constitutively expressing beta-galactosidase or GFP either ubiquitously or transcriptionally regulated by an endothelial specific promotor Tie-2 were injected into lethally irradiated adult mice. After bone marrow reconstitution by donor cells, mice were implanted with syngeneic GL261 murine glioma cells. Morphological and confocal 3-dimensional analysis showed that the majority of the engrafted donor marrow cells were expressing hematopoietic and/or microglia markers, but did not appreciably contribute to the tumor vasculature. Implantation of glioma cells genetically engineered to overexpress VEGF produced highly vascularized tumors. However, the number of endothelial progenitors incorporated in the tumor vasculature did not increase. These data strongly suggest that neovascularization in the brain might fundamentally be regulated by the sprouting of pre-existing vessels and implicate that circulating endothelial progenitors do not play a significant role in this process.

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