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Physiol Rev. 2013 Oct;93(4):1743-802. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00006.2013.

Postischemic revascularization: from cellular and molecular mechanisms to clinical applications.


After the onset of ischemia, cardiac or skeletal muscle undergoes a continuum of molecular, cellular, and extracellular responses that determine the function and the remodeling of the ischemic tissue. Hypoxia-related pathways, immunoinflammatory balance, circulating or local vascular progenitor cells, as well as changes in hemodynamical forces within vascular wall trigger all the processes regulating vascular homeostasis, including vasculogenesis, angiogenesis, arteriogenesis, and collateral growth, which act in concert to establish a functional vascular network in ischemic zones. In patients with ischemic diseases, most of the cellular (mainly those involving bone marrow-derived cells and local stem/progenitor cells) and molecular mechanisms involved in the activation of vessel growth and vascular remodeling are markedly impaired by the deleterious microenvironment characterized by fibrosis, inflammation, hypoperfusion, and inhibition of endogenous angiogenic and regenerative programs. Furthermore, cardiovascular risk factors, including diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes, and aging, constitute a deleterious macroenvironment that participates to the abrogation of postischemic revascularization and tissue regeneration observed in these patient populations. Thus stimulation of vessel growth and/or remodeling has emerged as a new therapeutic option in patients with ischemic diseases. Many strategies of therapeutic revascularization, based on the administration of growth factors or stem/progenitor cells from diverse sources, have been proposed and are currently tested in patients with peripheral arterial disease or cardiac diseases. This review provides an overview from our current knowledge regarding molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in postischemic revascularization, as well as advances in the clinical application of such strategies of therapeutic revascularization.

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