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Stem Cell Res. 2009 Jan;2(1):2-15. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2008.05.005. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

Resident vascular progenitor cells: an emerging role for non-terminally differentiated vessel-resident cells in vascular biology.

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Translational Medicine Branch, Division of Intramural Research, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Throughout development and adult life the vasculature exhibits a remarkably dynamic capacity for growth and repair. The vasculature also plays a pivotal role in the execution of other diverse biologic processes, such as the provisioning of early hematopoietic stem cells during embryonic development or the regulation of vascular tone and blood pressure. Adding to this importance, from an anatomical perspective, the vasculature is clearly an omnipresent organ, with few areas of the body that it does not penetrate. Given these impressive characteristics, it is perhaps to be expected that the vasculature should require, or at least be associated with, a ready supply of stem and progenitor cells. However, somewhat surprisingly, it is only now just beginning to be broadly appreciated that the vasculature plays host to a range of vessel-resident stem and progenitor cells. The possibility that these vessel-resident cells are implicated in processes as diverse as tumor vascularization and adaptive vascular remodeling appears likely, and several exciting avenues for clinical translation are already under investigation. This review explores the various stem and progenitor cell populations that are resident in the microvasculature, endothelium, and vessel walls and vessel-resident cells capable of phenotypic transformation.

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