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Stem Cell Res. 2017 May;21:148-159. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2017.04.009. Epub 2017 Apr 21.

Initial clonogenic potential of human endothelial progenitor cells is predictive of their further properties and establishes a functional hierarchy related to immaturity.

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INSERM U1197, Hôpital Paul Brousse, Villejuif, France.
ERL CNRS 9215, Laboratoire CRRET, Université Paris Est Créteil, Faculté des Sciences et Technologies, Créteil, France.
Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology, Collège de France, Paris, France; Inserm U1050, Paris, France; CNRS UMRS 7241, Paris, France.
INSERM U1197, Hôpital Paul Brousse, Villejuif, France. Electronic address:


Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) generate in vitro Endothelial Colony Forming Cells (ECFCs) combining features of endothelial and stem/progenitor cells. Their angiogenic properties confer them a therapeutic potential for treating ischemic lesions. They may be isolated from umbilical cord blood (CB-ECFCs) or peripheral adult blood (AB-ECFCs). It is generally accepted that CB-ECFCs are more clonogenic, proliferative and angiogenic than AB-ECFCs. Nevertheless, only a few studies have focused on the functional heterogeneity of CB-ECFCs from different individuals. Moreover, AB-ECFC loss of function is yet to be precisely described. We have focused on these two issues that are critical for clinical perspectives. The detailed clonogenic profile of CB-ECFCs and AB-ECFCs was obtained and revealed a high inter individual heterogeneity and the absence of correlation with age. Most CB-ECFCs yielded initial colonies and had functional properties similar to those of AB-ECFCs. Conversely, a high clonogenicity was associated with an enhanced proliferative and angiogenic potential and stemness gene overexpression, confirming that immaturity, lost by AB-ECFCs, was a prerequisite to functionality. We thus demonstrated the importance of selecting CB-ECFCs according to specific criteria, and we propose using the initial clonogenicity as a relevant marker of their potential efficacy on vascular repair.


Cord blood; Endothelial Colony Forming Cells; Endothelial progenitor cells; Functional hierarchy; Immaturity; Peripheral adult blood; Senescence

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