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Sci Rep. 2018 Jun 20;8(1):9387. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-27715-4.

Stem cell properties of peripheral blood endothelial progenitors are stimulated by soluble CD146 via miR-21: potential use in autologous cell therapy.

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Aix Marseille Univ, INSERM 1263, INRA 1260, C2VN, Marseille, France.
CERIMED (European Center of Research in Medical Imaging), Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France.
Service of Vascular Surgery, La Timone Hospital, Marseille, France.
Aix Marseille Univ, INSERM 1263, INRA 1260, C2VN, Marseille, France.


Cell-based therapies constitute a real hope for the treatment of ischaemic diseases. One of the sources of endothelial progenitors for autologous cell therapy is Endothelial Colony Forming Cells (ECFC) that can be isolated from peripheral blood. However, their use is limited by their low number in the bloodstream and the loss of their stem cell phenotype associated with the acquisition of a senescent phenotype in culture. We hypothesized that adding soluble CD146, a novel endothelial growth factor with angiogenic properties, during the isolation and growth procedures could improve their number and therapeutic potential. Soluble CD146 increased the number of isolated peripheral blood ECFC colonies and lowered their onset time. It prevented cellular senescence, induced a partial mesenchymal phenotype and maintained a stem cell phenotype by stimulating the expression of embryonic transcription factors. These different effects were mediated through the induction of mature miR-21. When injected in an animal model of hindlimb ischaemia, sCD146-primed ECFC isolated from 40 ml of blood from patients with peripheral arterial disease were able to generate new blood vessels and restore blood flow. Treatment with sCD146 could thus constitute a promising strategy to improve the use of autologous cells for the treatment of ischaemic diseases.

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