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Circulation. 2004 Sep 7;110(10):1209-12. Epub 2004 Jul 12.

CD34+ and endothelial progenitor cells in patients with various degrees of congestive heart failure.

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University of Ferrara and Cardiovascular Research Center, Salvatore Maugeri Foundation, IRCCS, Gussago, Italy.



Peripheral blood CD34(+) cells and circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) increase in myocardial infarction and vascular injuries as a reflection of endothelial damage. Despite the occurrence of endothelial dysfunction in heart failure (HF), no data are available on EPC mobilization in this setting. We investigated the pattern of CD34(+) cells and EPC mobilization during HF and their correlation with the severity and origin of the disease.


Peripheral blood CD34(+) cells (n=91) and EPCs (n=41), assessed both as CD34(+) cells coexpressing AC133 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor-2 and as endothelial colony-forming units, were studied in HF patients (mean age 67+/-11 years) and 45 gender- and age-matched controls. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and its receptors (sTNFR-1 and sTNFR-2), VEGF, stromal derived factor-1 (SDF-1), granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), and B-type natriuretic peptide were also measured. CD34(+) cells, EPCs, TNF-alpha and receptors, VEGF, SDF-1, and B-type natriuretic peptide were increased in HF. CD34(+) cells and EPCs were inversely related to functional class and to TNF-alpha, being decreased in New York Heart Association class IV compared with class I and II and controls. No role was found for the origin of the disease.


CD34(+) cells and EPC mobilization occurs in HF and shows a biphasic response, with elevation and depression in the early and advanced phases, respectively. This could be related to the myelosuppressive role of TNF-alpha.

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