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Free Radic Res. 2008 Aug;42(8):754-62. doi: 10.1080/10715760802357057.

Antioxidants increase number of progenitor endothelial cells through multiple gene expression pathways.

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  • 1Department of General Pathology, Division of Clinical Pathology,Excellence Research Center of Cardiovascular Diseases, II University of Naples, Naples, Italy.


To date, there is no report on the effect of antioxidants on endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). This study shows that in vitro incubation of EPCs with vitamin C and E reverted the already well documented lowering effect of TNF-alpha on EPC number and increased p-p38 expression levels. In order to document major changes of gene expression levels and gain insight into signalling pathways, microarray analysis was performed and a significant variation of the expression of 5389 genes in EPCs following antioxidant treatment was detected. Also in vivo evidence is provided about the positive effect of antioxidant vitamins on EPCs, since vitamin C and E supplementation potentiated the physical training-induced increase of EPC number and VEGF levels. Together, these data indicate that antioxidant treatment ameliorates EPC number and causes major changes of gene expression within these cells in vitro. Furthermore, concomitant antioxidant supplementation and physical training in vivo raised the levels of circulating EPCs and serum VEGF more than physical training alone.

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