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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2007 Dec;27(12):2664-70. Epub 2007 Sep 13.

Hypoxia-induced mediators of stem/progenitor cell trafficking are increased in children with hemangioma.

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Stanford University, Department of Surgery, PSRL, GK-201, 257 Campus Drive West, Stanford, CA, 94305-5148, USA.



The mechanism of neovascularization during the proliferative phase of infantile hemangioma is poorly understood. It is known that circulating bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) form new blood vessels in ischemic tissues using mediators regulated by the transcription factor, HIF-1alpha. Mobilization of EPCs is enhanced by VEGF-A, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, and estrogen, whereas homing is secondary to localized expression of stromal cell-derived factor-1alpha (SDF-1alpha). We examined whether these mediators of EPC trafficking are upregulated during the proliferation of infantile hemangioma.


Surgical specimens and blood samples were obtained from children with proliferating hemangioma and age-matched controls (n=10, each group). VEGF-A and MMP-9 levels were measured in blood, and tissue sections were analyzed for SDF-1alpha, MMP-9, VEGF-A, and HIF-1alpha. The role of estrogen as a modulator of hemangioma endothelial cell growth was also investigated. We found that all these mediators of EPC trafficking are elevated in blood and specimens from children with proliferating infantile hemangioma. In vitro, the combination of hypoxia and estrogen demonstrated a synergistic effect on hemangioma endothelial cell proliferation.


These findings demonstrate that proliferating hemangiomas express known mediators of vasculogenesis and suggest that this process may play a role in the initiation or progression of this disease.

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