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Blood. 2008 Feb 1;111(3):1302-5. Epub 2007 Nov 9.

Differential in vivo potential of endothelial progenitor cells from human umbilical cord blood and adult peripheral blood to form functional long-lasting vessels.

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Edwin L. Steele Laboratory, Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Tissue engineering requires formation of a de novo stable vascular network. Because of their ability to proliferate, differentiate into endothelial cells, and form new vessels, blood-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are attractive source of cells for use in engineering blood vessels. However, the durability and function of EPC-derived vessels implanted in vivo are unclear. To this end, we directly compared formation and functions of tissue-engineered blood vessels generated by peripheral blood- and umbilical cord blood-derived EPCs in a model of in vivo vasculogenesis. We found that adult peripheral blood EPCs form blood vessels that are unstable and regress within 3 weeks. In contrast, umbilical cord blood EPCs form normal-functioning blood vessels that last for more than 4 months. These vessels exhibit normal blood flow, perm-selectivity to macromolecules, and induction of leukocyte-endothelial interactions in response to cytokine activation similar to normal vessels. Thus, umbilical cord blood EPCs hold great therapeutic potential, and their use should be pursued for vascular engineering.

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