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Blood. 2006 Aug 1;108(3):915-21.

Endothelial progenitor cells from infantile hemangioma and umbilical cord blood display unique cellular responses to endostatin.

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Vascular Biology Research Program and Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Infantile hemangiomas are composed of endothelial cells (ECs), endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), as well as perivascular and hematopoietic cells. Our hypothesis is that hemangioma-derived EPCs (HemEPCs) differentiate into the mature ECs that comprise the major compartment of the tumor. To test this, we isolated EPCs (CD133(+)/Ulex europeus- I(+)) and mature ECs (CD133(-)/Ulex europeus-I(+)) from proliferating hemangiomas and used a previously described property of hemangioma-derived ECs (HemECs), enhanced migratory activity in response to the angiogenesis inhibitor endostatin, to determine if HemEPCs share this abnormal behavior. Umbilical cord blood-derived EPCs (cbEPCs) were analyzed in parallel as a normal control. Our results show that HemEPCs, HemECs, and cbEPCs exhibit increased adhesion, migration, and proliferation in response to endostatin. This angiogenic response to endostatin was consistently expressed by HemEPCs over several weeks in culture, whereas HemECs and cbEPCs shifted toward the mature endothelial response to endostatin. Similar mRNA-expression patterns among HemEPCs, HemECs, and cbEPCs, revealed by microarray analyses, provided further indication of an EPC phenotype. This is the first demonstration that human EPCs, isolated from blood or from a proliferating hemangioma, are stimulated by an angiogenesis inhibitor. These findings suggest that EPCs respond differently from mature ECs when exposed to angiogenic or antiangiogenic signals.

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