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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2007 Jun;42(6):1086-97. Epub 2007 Apr 4.

Circulating human CD34+ progenitor cells modulate neovascularization and inflammation in a nude mouse model.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Medical Biology Section, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ Groningen, The Netherlands.


CD34+ progenitor cells hold promise for therapeutic neovascularization in various settings. In this study, the role of human peripheral blood CD34+ cells in neovascularization and inflammatory cell recruitment was longitudinally studied in vivo. Human CD34+ cells were incorporated in Matrigel, implanted subcutaneously in nude mice, and explanted after 2, 4, 7, or 14 days. Cell-free Matrigels served as controls. Histochemical analyses demonstrated that neovascularization occurred almost exclusively in CD34+ implants. Cellular and capillary density were increased in cell-loaded Matrigels after 2 days and further increased at 14 days. Human CD34+ cells did not incorporate in neovessels, but formed vWF+/CD31+/VEGF+ cell clusters that were present up to day 14. However, CD34+ cells induced host neovascularization, as demonstrated by increased presence of murine CD31+ and vWF+ vasculature from day 7 to 14. Moreover, recruitment of murine monocytes/macrophages was significantly enhanced in CD34+ implants at all time points. Gene expression of chemotactic cytokines MCP-1 and IL-8 was detected on CD34+ cells in vitro and confirmed immunohistochemically in cell-loaded explants at all time points. Our data indicate that human CD34+ cells, implanted in a hypoxic environment, generate an angiogenic niche by secreting chemotactic and angiogenic factors, enabling rapid neovascularization, possibly via recruitment of monocytes/macrophages.

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