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Biomark Med. 2011 Dec;5(6):731-44. doi: 10.2217/bmm.11.92.

Endothelial progenitor cells in cardiovascular disease and chronic inflammation: from biomarker to therapeutic agent.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Immunology & Rheumatology, Stanford School of Medicine, 265 Campus Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5454, USA


The discovery of endothelial progenitor cells in the 1990s challenged the paradigm of angiogenesis by showing that cells derived from hematopoietic stem cells are capable of forming new blood vessels even in the absence of a pre-existing vessel network, a process termed vasculogenesis. Since then, the majority of studies in the field have found a strong association between circulating endothelial progenitor cells and cardiovascular risk. Several studies have also reported that inflammation influences the mobilization and differentiation of endothelial progenitor cells. In this review, we discuss the emerging role of endothelial progenitor cells as biomarkers of cardiovascular disease as well as the interplay between inflammation and endothelial progenitor cell biology. We will also review the challenges in the field of endothelial progenitor cell-based therapy.

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