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PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24646. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024646. Epub 2011 Sep 12.

Cilostazol activates function of bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cell for re-endothelialization in a carotid balloon injury model.

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Group of Vascular Regeneration Research, Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, Kobe, Japan.

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2012;7(8): doi/10.1371/annotation/39d3625c-a28f-4669-9204-4a433d2b4b27. Masaaki, Ii [corrected to Ii, Masaaki]..



Cilostazol(CLZ) has been used as a vasodilating anti-platelet drug clinically and demonstrated to inhibit proliferation of smooth muscle cells and effect on endothelial cells. However, the effect of CLZ on re-endothelialization including bone marrow (BM)-derived endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) contribution is unclear. We have investigated the hypothesis that CLZ might accelerate re-endothelialization with EPCs.


Balloon carotid denudation was performed in male Sprague-Dawley rats. CLZ group was given CLZ mixed feed from 2 weeks before carotid injury. Control group was fed normal diet. CLZ accelerated re-endothelialization at 2 weeks after surgery and resulted in a significant reduction of neointima formation 4 weeks after surgery compared with that in control group. CLZ also increased the number of circulating EPCs throughout the time course. We examined the contribution of BM-derived EPCs to re-endothelialization by BM transplantation from Tie2/lacZ mice to nude rats. The number of Tie2-regulated X-gal positive cells on injured arterial luminal surface was increased at 2 weeks after surgery in CLZ group compared with that in control group. In vitro, CLZ enhanced proliferation, adhesion and migration activity, and differentiation with mRNA upregulation of adhesion molecule integrin αvβ3, chemokine receptor CXCR4 and growth factor VEGF assessed by real-time RT-PCR in rat BM-derived cultured EPCs. In addition, CLZ markedly increased the expression of SDF-1α that is a ligand of CXCR4 receptor in EPCs, in the media following vascular injury.


CLZ promotes EPC mobilization from BM and EPC recruitment to sites of arterial injury, and thereby inhibited neointima formation with acceleration of re-endothelialization with EPCs as well as pre-existing endothelial cells in a rat carotid balloon injury model. CLZ could be not only an anti-platelet agent but also a promising tool for endothelial regeneration, which is a key event for preventing atherosclerosis or restenosis after vascular intervention.

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