Bisphosphonates are a class of pharmacologic compounds that are commonly used to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis and malignant osteolytic processes. Studies have shown that bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) play a significant role in postnatal neovascularization. Whether the nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate zoledronate inhibits ischemia-induced neovascularization by modulating EPC functions remains unclear.
Unilateral hindlimb ischemia was surgically induced in wild-type mice after 2 weeks of treatment with vehicle or zoledronate (low-dose: 30 μg/kg; high-dose: 100 μg/kg). Doppler perfusion imaging demonstrated that the ischemic limb/normal side blood perfusion ratio was significantly lower in wild-type mice treated with low-dose zoledronate and in mice treated with high-dose zoledronate than in controls 4 weeks after ischemic surgery (control vs. low-dose vs. high-dose: 87±7% vs. *61±18% vs. **49±17%, *p<0.01, **p<0.005 compared to control). Capillary densities were also significantly lower in mice treated with low-dose zoledronate and in mice treated with high-dose zoledronate than in control mice. Flow cytometry analysis showed impaired mobilization of EPC-like cells (Sca-1+/Flk-1+) after surgical induction of ischemia in mice treated with zoledronate but normal levels of mobilization in mice treated with vehicle. In addition, ischemic tissue from mice that received zoledronate treatment exhibited significantly lower levels of the active form of MMP-9, lower levels of VEGF, and lower levels of phosphorylated eNOS and phosphorylated Akt than ischemic tissue from mice that received vehicle. Results of the in vitro studies showed that incubation with zoledronate inhibited the viability, migration, and tube-forming capacities of EPC.
Zoledronate inhibited ischemia-induced neovascularization by impairing EPC mobilization and angiogenic functions. These findings suggest that administration of zoledronate should be withheld in patients with ischemic events such as acute limb ischemia.
Current evidence suggests that endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) contribute to ischemic tissue repair by both secretion of paracrine factors and incorporation into developing vessels. We tested the hypothesis that cell-free administration of paracrine factors secreted by cultured EPC may achieve an angiogenic effect equivalent to cell therapy.
EPC-derived conditioned medium (EPC-CM) was obtained from culture expanded EPC subjected to 72 hours of hypoxia. In vitro, EPC-CM significantly inhibited apoptosis of mature endothelial cells and promoted angiogenesis in a rat aortic ring assay. The therapeutic potential of EPC-CM as compared to EPC transplantation was evaluated in a rat model of chronic hindlimb ischemia. Serial intramuscular injections of EPC-CM and EPC both significantly increased hindlimb blood flow assessed by laser Doppler (81.2±2.9% and 83.7±3.0% vs. 53.5±2.4% of normal, P<0.01) and improved muscle performance. A significantly increased capillary density (1.62±0.03 and 1.68±0.05/muscle fiber, P<0.05), enhanced vascular maturation (8.6±0.3 and 8.1±0.4/HPF, P<0.05) and muscle viability corroborated the findings of improved hindlimb perfusion and muscle function. Furthermore, EPC-CM transplantation stimulated the mobilization of bone marrow (BM)-derived EPC compared to control (678.7±44.1 vs. 340.0±29.1 CD34+/CD45− cells/1×105 mononuclear cells, P<0.05) and their recruitment to the ischemic muscles (5.9±0.7 vs. 2.6±0.4 CD34+ cells/HPF, P<0.001) 3 days after the last injection.
Intramuscular injection of EPC-CM is as effective as cell transplantation for promoting tissue revascularization and functional recovery. Owing to the technical and practical limitations of cell therapy, cell free conditioned media may represent a potent alternative for therapeutic angiogenesis in ischemic cardiovascular diseases.
Obesity-linked diseases are associated with suppressed endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) function. Adiponectin is an adipose-derived protein that is downregulated in obese and diabetic subjects. Here, we investigated the effects of adiponectin on EPCs. EPC levels did not increase in adiponectin deficient (APN-KO) in response to hindlimb ischemia. Adenovirus-mediated delivery of adiponectin increased EPC levels in both WT and APN-KO mice. Incubation of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells with adiponectin led to an increase of the number of EPCs. Adiponectin induced EPC differentiation into network structures and served as a chemoattractant in EPC migration assays. These data suggest that hypoadiponectinemia may contribute to the depression of EPC levels that are observed in patients with obesity-related cardiovascular disorders.
adiponectin; angiogenesis; endothelial progenitor cells
Bone marrow (BM) is the major reservoir for endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). Postnatal neovascularization depends on not only angiogenesis but also vasculogenesis, which is mediated through mobilization of EPCs from BM and their recruitment to the ischemic sites. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from Nox2-based NADPH oxidase play an important role in postnatal neovascularization; however, their role in BM and EPC function is unknown. Here we show that hindlimb ischemia of mice significantly increases Nox2 expression and ROS production in BM-mononuclear cells (BMCs), which is associated with an increase in circulating EPC-like cells. Mice lacking Nox2 show reduction of ischemia-induced flow recovery, ROS levels in BMCs, as well as EPC mobilization from BM. Transplantation of wild-type (WT)-BM into Nox2-deficient mice rescues the defective neovascularization, whereas WT mice transplanted with Nox2-deficient BM show reduced flow recovery and capillary density compared to WT-BM transplanted control. Intravenous infusion of WT- and Nox2-deficient BMCs into WT mice reveals that neovascularization and homing capacity are impaired in Nox2-deficient BMCs in vivo. In vitro, Nox2-deficient c-kit+Lin− BM stem/progenitor cells show impaired chemotaxis and invasion as well as polarization of actins in response to stromal derived factor (SDF), which is associated with blunted SDF-1–mediated phosphorylation of Akt. In conclusion, Nox2-derived ROS in BM play a critical role in mobilization, homing, and angiogenic capacity of EPCs and BM stem/progenitor cells, thereby promoting revascularization of ischemic tissue. Thus, NADPH oxidase in BM and EPCs is potential therapeutic targets for promoting neovascularization in ischemic cardiovascular diseases.
NADPH oxidase; reactive oxygen species; angiogenesis; vasculogenesis; neovascularization; stromal derived factor; endothelial progenitor cells
Angiogenic therapy with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been proposed as a treatment paradigm for patients suffering from an insufficiency of collateral vessels. Diabetes is associated with increase in the production of VEGF and therefore additional VEGF may not be beneficial. Accordingly, we sought to determine the efficacy of VEGF therapy to augment collateral formation and tissue perfusion in a diabetic mouse ischemic hindlimb model.
Diabetic and non-diabetic mice were studied in parallel for the efficacy of VEGF administration. Diabetes was induced with streptozotocin. Hindlimb ischemia was produced by severing the left iliac artery. An outlet tube from an osmotic infusion pump with placebo/ 500 micrograms of plasmid-DNA encoding VEGF was fenestrated and tunneled into the left quadriceps muscle.
VEGF induced more rapid and complete restoration of blood flow in normal mice. However, in the setting of diabetes there was no difference between VEGF Vs. placebo in the rate or adequacy of flow restoration. There was a significant increase in smooth muscle actin and Factor-VIII antigen densities in diabetic animals and in animals which received VEGF.
Angiogenic therapy with VEGF in the setting of diabetes does not appear to have the beneficial effects seen in the absence of diabetes.
arteries; blood flow; collateral circulation; diabetes
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are known to promote neovascularization in ischemic diseases. Recent evidence suggested that diabetic neuropathy is causally related to impaired angiogenesis and deficient growth factors. Accordingly, we investigated whether diabetic neuropathy could be reversed by local transplantation of EPCs.
Methods and Results
We found that motor and sensory nerve conduction velocities, blood flow, and capillary density were reduced in sciatic nerves of streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice but recovered to normal levels after hind-limb injection of bone marrow–derived EPCs. Injected EPCs were preferentially and durably engrafted in the sciatic nerves. A portion of engrafted EPCs were uniquely localized in close proximity to vasa nervorum, and a smaller portion of these EPCs were colocalized with endothelial cells. Multiple angiogenic and neurotrophic factors were significantly increased in the EPC-injected nerves. These dual angiogenic and neurotrophic effects of EPCs were confirmed by higher proliferation of Schwann cells and endothelial cells cultured in EPC-conditioned media.
We demonstrate for the first time that bone marrow-derived EPCs could reverse various manifestations of diabetic neuropathy. These therapeutic effects were mediated by direct augmentation of neovascularization in peripheral nerves through long-term and preferential engraftment of EPCs in nerves and particularly vasa nervorum and their paracrine effects. These findings suggest that EPC transplantation could represent an innovative therapeutic option for treating diabetic neuropathy.
angiogenesis; diabetes mellitus; progenitor cells; diabetic neuropathy
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are essential in vasculogenesis and wound healing, but their circulating and wound level numbers are decreased in diabetes. This study aimed to determine mechanisms responsible for the diabetic defect in circulating and wound EPCs. Since mobilization of BM EPCs occurs via eNOS activation, we hypothesized that eNOS activation is impaired in diabetes, which results in reduced EPC mobilization. Since hyperoxia activates NOS in other tissues, we investigated whether hyperoxia restores EPC mobilization in diabetic mice through BM NOS activation. Additionally, we studied the hypothesis that impaired EPC homing in diabetes is due to decreased wound level stromal cell–derived factor–1α (SDF-1α), a chemokine that mediates EPC recruitment in ischemia. Diabetic mice showed impaired phosphorylation of BM eNOS, decreased circulating EPCs, and diminished SDF-1α expression in cutaneous wounds. Hyperoxia increased BM NO and circulating EPCs, effects inhibited by the NOS inhibitor N-nitro-
l-arginine-methyl ester. Administration of SDF-1α into wounds reversed the EPC homing impairment and, with hyperoxia, synergistically enhanced EPC mobilization, homing, and wound healing. Thus, hyperoxia reversed the diabetic defect in EPC mobilization, and SDF-1α reversed the diabetic defect in EPC homing. The targets identified, which we believe to be novel, can significantly advance the field of diabetic wound healing.
Recent studies revealed that erythropoietin (EPO) has tissue-protective effects in the heart by increasing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression and attenuating myocardial fibrosis in ischemia models. In this study, we investigated the effect of EPO on ventricular remodeling and blood vessel growth in diabetic rats.
Male SD rats were randomly divided into 3 groups: control rats, streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats, and diabetic rats treated with 1000 U/kg EPO by subcutaneous injection once per week. Twelve weeks later, echocardiography was conducted, and blood samples were collected for counting of peripheral blood endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). Myocardial tissues were collected, quantitative real-time PCR (RT-PCR) was used to detect the mRNA expression of VEGF and EPO-receptor (EPOR), and Western blotting was used to detect the protein expression of VEGF and EPOR. VEGF, EPOR, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), and CD31 levels in the myocardium were determined by immunohistochemistry. To detect cardiac hypertrophy, immunohistochemistry of collagen type I, collagen type III, and Picrosirius Red staining were performed, and cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area was measured.
After 12 weeks STZ injection, blood glucose increased significantly and remained consistently elevated. EPO treatment significantly improved cardiac contractility and reduced diastolic dysfunction. Rats receiving the EPO injection showed a significant increase in circulating EPCs (27.85 ± 3.43%, P < 0.01) compared with diabetic untreated animals. EPO injection significantly increased capillary density as well as EPOR and VEGF expression in left ventricular myocardial tissue from diabetic rats. Moreover, EPO inhibited interstitial collagen deposition and reduced TGF-β expression.
Treatment with EPO protects cardiac tissue in diabetic animals by increasing VEGF and EPOR expression levels, leading to improved revascularization and the inhibition of cardiac fibrosis.
Erythropoietin; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Diabetes mellitus; Endothelial progenitor cell; Myocardial interstitial fibrosis; Transforming growth factor beta
This study examined effects of diabetes mellitus (DM) on cellular proliferation associated with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)signaling in endothelial progenitor cells (EPC’s)and evaluated protein expression involved in cellular proliferation and pro-apoptotic signaling in chronically ischemic myocardium.
Insulin dependent DM was induced in yucatan miniswine with alloxan. Eight weeks after induction, chronic ischemia was induced by ameroid constrictor placement around the circumflex coronary artery. Seven weeks after ameroid constrictor, perfusion of ischemic territory was measured by isotope-labeled microspheres, and ischemic myocardium was harvested. Bone marrow (BM) samples were harvested from iliac bone and mononuclear cells (MNC’s) were cryopreserved. EPC’s were isolated from cryopreserved MNC’s in control (n=6) and DM swine (n=6). EPC proliferation was assessed.
EPC proliferation was decreased in DM as compared to control (1.02±0.09, 0.40±0.04, p<0.01). VEGF induced EPC proliferation was impaired in DM as compared to control (p<0.01). Expression of ERK protein, an activator of VEGF induced cell proliferation, was decreased. AKT activation, an inhibitor of apoptosis, was decreased, while Bad, an activator of pro-apoptotic signaling, was elevated in the ischemic myocardium from DM. Collateral dependent perfusion was impaired in DM.
Impaired VEGF induced proliferation response in EPC as well as an increase in negative myocardial protein expression for cell proliferation and pro-apoptotic signaling via VEGF could be a therapeutic target to enhance the effects of pro-angiogenesis therapies in DM and other chronic illnesses.
Several vascular disease are characterized by elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Vascular endothelium is protected from oxidant stress by expressing enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase type 1 (GPx-1). In this study, we investigated the effect of vascular oxidant stress on ischemia-induced neovascularization in a murine model of homozygous deficiency of GPx-1. GPx-1– deficient mice showed impaired revascularization following hindlimb ischemic surgery based on laser Doppler measurements of blood flow and capillary density in adductor muscle. GPx-1– deficient mice also showed an impaired ability to increase endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) levels in response to ischemic injury or subcutaneous administration of vascular endothelial growth factor protein. EPCs isolated from GPx-1– deficient mice showed a reduced ability to neutralize oxidative stress in vitro, which was associated with impaired migration toward vascular endothelial growth factor and increased sensitivity to ROS-induced apoptosis. EPCs isolated from GPx-1– deficient mice were impaired in their ability to promote angiogenesis in wild-type mice, whereas wild-type EPCs were effective in stimulating angiogenesis in GPx-1– deficient mice. These data suggest that EPC dysfunction is a mechanism by which elevated levels of ROS can contribute to vascular disease.
glutathione peroxidase-1; hindlimb ischemia; endothelial progenitor cells; angiogenesis
The vascular endothelium is a critical determinant of diabetes-associated vascular complications, and improving endothelial function is an important target for therapy. Diabetes mellitus contributes to endothelial cell injury and dysfunction. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) play a critical role in maintaining endothelial function and might affect the progression of vascular disease. EPCs are essential to blood vessel formation, can differentiate into mature endothelial cells, and promote the repair of damaged endothelium. In diabetes, the circulating EPC count is low and their functionality is impaired. The mechanisms that underlie this reduced count and impaired functionality are poorly understood. Knowledge of the status of EPCs is critical for assessing the health of the vascular system, and interventions that increase the number of EPCs and restore their angiogenic activity in diabetes may prove to be particularly beneficial. The present review outlines current thinking on EPCs’ therapeutic potential in endothelial dysfunction in diabetes, as well as evidence-based perspectives regarding their use for vascular regenerative medicine.
Diabetes mellitus; Vascular dysfunction; Endothelial progenitor cells
The mechanisms of homing of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) to sites of ischemia are unclear. Here, we demonstrate that ex vivo–expanded EPCs as well as murine hematopoietic Sca-1+/Lin− progenitor cells express β2-integrins, which mediate the adhesion of EPCs to endothelial cell monolayers and their chemokine-induced transendothelial migration in vitro. In a murine model of hind limb ischemia, Sca-1+/Lin− hematopoietic progenitor cells from β2-integrin–deficient mice are less capable of homing to sites of ischemia and of improving neovascularization. Preactivation of the β2-integrins expressed on EPCs by activating antibodies augments the EPC-induced neovascularization in vivo. These results provide evidence for a novel function of β2-integrins in postnatal vasculogenesis.
Stroke is associated with high disability and mortality burdens worldwide, but there are few effective and widely available therapies. There is therefore a need to develop treatments that promote the repair and regeneration of ischemic brain tissue. In this regard, a population of adult stem cells-called endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs)-has been identified in peripheral blood that could provide novel approaches in regenerative medicine for curing patients with acute ischemic stroke. There is accumulating evidence that EPCs can repair damaged endothelia and attenuate the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Also, EPCs can be recruited in response to acute ischemic events and participate in reparative vasculogenesis. Most studies related to EPCs have involved patients with cardiovascular diseases, and there is emerging evidence that EPCs represent a risk marker and a potential therapeutic agent in cerebrovascular disease. Here we review the characteristics and biology of EPCs in cerebrovascular disease and discuss the challenges that must be addressed to clarify the role and therapeutic applicability of EPCs in cerebrovascular disease.
endothelial progenitor cells; cerebrovascular disease; stroke; atherosclerosis; regeneration
Cell-based therapy has emerged as a promising therapeutic tool for treatment of ischemic cardiovascular disease. Both unselected bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells (BMNCs), which include stem/progenitor cells and several other cell types, and endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), a subpopulation of BMNCs, display regenerative potential in ischemic tissue. Abundant evidence supports the involvement of EPCs in capillary growth, and EPCs also appear to participate in the formation of collateral vessels. Collectively, these effects have led to improved perfusion and functional recovery in animal models of myocardial and peripheral ischemia, and in early clinical trials, the therapeutic administration of EPCs to patients with myocardial infarction or chronic angina have been associated with positive trends in perfusion. EPCs also contribute to endothelial repair and may, consequently, impede the development or progression of arteriosclerosis. This review provides a brief summary of the preclinical and clinical evidence for the role of EPCs in blood-vessel formation and repair during ischemic cardiovascular disease.
Endothelial progenitor cell; Vasculogenesis; Collateral formation
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have been isolated from circulating mononuclear cells in peripheral blood and shown to incorporate into foci of neovascularization, consistent with postnatal vasculogenesis. These circulating EPCs are derived from bone marrow and are mobilized endogenously in response to tissue ischemia or exogenously by cytokine stimulation. We show here, using a chemotaxis assay of bone marrow mononuclear cells in vitro and EPC culture assay of peripheral blood from simvastatin-treated animals in vivo, that the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, simvastatin, augments the circulating population of EPCs. Direct evidence that this increased pool of circulating EPCs originates from bone marrow and may enhance neovascularization was demonstrated in simvastatin-treated mice transplanted with bone marrow from transgenic donors expressing β-galactosidase transcriptionally regulated by the endothelial cell-specific Tie-2 promoter. The role of Akt signaling in mediating effects of statin on EPCs is suggested by the observation that simvastatin rapidly activates Akt protein kinase in EPCs, enhancing proliferative and migratory activities and cell survival. Furthermore, dominant negative Akt overexpression leads to functional blocking of EPC bioactivity. These findings establish that augmented mobilization of bone marrow–derived EPCs through stimulation of the Akt signaling pathway constitutes a novel function for HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.
Stem cells/progenitors are central to the development of cell therapy approaches for vascular ischemic diseases. The crucial step in rescuing tissues from ischemia is improvement of vascularization that can be achieved by promoting neovascularization. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are the best candidates for developing such an approach due to their ability to self-renew, circulate and differentiate into mature endothelial cells (ECs). Studies showed that intravenously administered progenitors isolated from bone marrow, peripheral or cord blood home to ischemic sites. However, the successful clinical application of such transplantation therapy is limited by low quantities of EPCs that can be generated from patients. Hence, the ability to amplify the numbers of autologous EPCs by long term in vitro expansion while preserving their angiogenic potential is critically important for developing EPC based therapies. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the capacity of cord blood (CB)-derived AC133+ cells to differentiate, in vitro, towards functional, mature endothelial cells (ECs) after long term in vitro expansion.
We systematically characterized the properties of CB AC133+ cells over the 30 days of in vitro expansion. During 30 days of culturing, CB AC133+ cells exhibited significant growth potential that was manifested as 148-fold increase in cell numbers. Flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry demonstrated that CB AC133+ cells' expression of endothelial progenitor markers was not affected by long term in vitro culturing. After culturing under EC differentiation conditions, cells exhibited high expression of mature ECs markers, such as CD31, VEGFR-2 and von Willebrand factor, as well as the morphological changes indicative of differentiation towards mature ECs. In addition, throughout the 30 day culture cells preserved their functional capacity that was demonstrated by high uptake of DiI fluorescently conjugated-acetylated-low density lipoprotein (DiI-Ac-LDL), in vitro and in vivo migration towards chemotactic stimuli and in vitro tube formation.
These studies demonstrate that primary CB AC133+ culture contained mainly EPCs and that long term in vitro conditions facilitated the maintenance of these cells in the state of commitment towards endothelial lineage.
Background and aim
We tested the hypothesis that obesity reduced circulating number of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), angiogenic ability, and blood flow in ischemic tissue that could be reversed after obesity control.
8-week-old C57BL/6J mice (n = 27) were equally divided into group 1 (fed with 22-week control diet), group 2 (22-week high fat diet), and group 3 (14-week high fat diet, followed by 8-week control diet). Critical limb ischemia (CLI) was induced at week 20 in groups 2 and 3. The animals were sacrificed at the end of 22 weeks.
Heart weight, body weight, abdominal fat weight, serum total cholesterol level, and fasting blood sugar were highest in group 2 (all p < 0.001). The numbers of circulating EPCs (C-kit/CD31+, Sca-1/KDR + and CXCR4/CD34+) were lower in groups 1 and 2 than in group 3 at 18 h after CLI induction (p < 0.03). The numbers of differentiated EPCs (C-kit/CD31+, CXCR4/CD34+ and CD133+) from adipose tissue after 14-day cultivation were also lowest in group 2 (p < 0.001). Protein expressions of VCAM-1, oxidative index, Smad3, and TGF-β were higher, whereas the Smad1/5 and BMP-2, mitochondrial cytochrome-C SDF-1α and CXCR4 were lower in group 2 than in groups 1 and 3 (all p < 0.02). Immunofluorescent staining of CD31+ and vWF + cells, the number of small vessel (<15 μm), and blood flow through Laser Doppler scanning of ischemic area were lower in group 2 compared to groups 1 and 3 on day 14 after CLI induction (all p < 0.001).
Obesity suppressed abilities of angiogenesis and recovery from CLI that were reversed by obesity control.
Obesity control; Endothelial progenitor cells; Angiogenesis; Critical limb ischemia
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have been implicated in playing an important role in vascular repair and revascularization in ischemic organs including brain tissue. However, the cause of EPC migration and the function of EPC playing following post-ischemia are unclear. Here, we reported EPC therapy in a mouse model of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) to explore the roles of EPC following ischemic brain injury.
Human EPCs were cultured, characterized, and confirmed with flow cytometry. Ex vivo expanded EPCs (1×106) were injected via jugular vein after 1 hour of tMCAO. Histological and behavioral analyses were performed from day 1 to 28 days after tMCAO.
EPCs were detected in ischemic brain region 24 hours after MCAO. EPC transplantation significantly reduced ischemic infarct volume at 3 days following MCAO compared to the control (p<0.05). CXCR4 was expressed on majority of EPCs and SDF-1-induced EPC migration was blocked by AMD3100 in vitro. SDF-1 was up-regulated in ischemic brain and AMD3100 could reduce EPCs migration to the ischemic region in vivo, suggesting that SDF-1/CXCR4 was involved in EPC-mediated neuroprotection. Compared to the control, EPC therapy reduced mouse cortex atrophy 4 weeks after tMCAO, which was accompanied by improved neurobehavioral outcomes (p<0.05). In addition, EPC injection potently increased angiogenesis in the peri-infarction area (p<0.05).
We conclude that systemic delivery of EPC protect against cerebral ischemic injury, promote neurovascular repair, and improve long-term neurobehavioral outcomes. Our data suggests that SDF-1/CXCR4 plays a critical role in EPC-mediated neuroprotection.
angiogenesis; EPCs; ischemia; mice; neuroprotection
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have been shown to be involved in vascular regeneration and angiogenesis in experimental diabetes. Because insulin therapy mobilizes circulating progenitor cells, we studied the effects of insulin on outgrowth of EPCs from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of healthy volunteers and patients with type 2 diabetes. Insulin increased the formation of EPC colony-forming units in a dose-dependent manner, half-maximal at 1.5 nM and peaking at 15 nM. Inhibiting the insulin receptor with neutralizing antibodies or antisense oligonucleotides had no effect on EPC outgrowth.1 In contrast, targeting the human insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) receptor with neutralizing antibodies significantly suppressed insulin-induced outgrowth of EPCs from both healthy controls and patients with type 2 diabetes. This IGF-1 receptor–mediated insulin effect on EPC growth was at least in part dependent on MAP kinases2 and was abrogated when extracellular signal–regulated kinase 1/2 (Erk1/2) and protein kinase 38 (p38) activity was inhibited. To study the functional relevance of the observed insulin effects, we studied EPC-induced tube formation of bovine endothelial cells in vitro. Insulin-stimulated EPCs incorporated into the endothelial tubes and markedly enhanced tube formation. In conclusion, this is the first study showing an insulin-mediated activation of the IGF-1 receptor leading to an increased clonogenic and angiogenic potential of EPCs in vitro.
Recent studies indicate that portions of ischemic and tumor neovasculature are derived by “neovasculogenesis”, whereby bone marrow (BM)-derived circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) home to sites of regenerative or malignant growth and contribute to blood vessel formation. Recent data from animal models suggest that a variety of cell types, including unfractionated BM mononuclear cells and those obtained by ex vivo expansion of human peripheral blood or enriched progenitors, can function as EPCs to promote tissue vasculogenesis, regeneration and repair when introduced in vivo. The promising preclinical results have led to several human clinical trials using BM as a potential source of EPCs in cardiac repair as well as ongoing basic research on using EPCs in tissue engineering or as cell therapy to target tumor growth.
EPC; angiogenesis; vasculogenesis; cell therapy; tumor; ischemia
Amputation as a result of impaired wound healing is a serious complication of diabetes. Inadequate angiogenesis contributes to poor wound healing in diabetic patients. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) normally augment angiogenesis and wound repair but are functionally impaired in diabetics. Here we report that decreased expression of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) in EPCs contributes to impaired would healing in a mouse model of type 2 diabetes. A decreased frequency of circulating EPCs was detected in type 2 diabetic (db/db) mice, and when isolated, these cells exhibited decreased expression and activity of MnSOD. Wound healing and angiogenesis were markedly delayed in diabetic mice compared with normal controls. For cell therapy, topical transplantation of EPCs onto excisional wounds in diabetic mice demonstrated that diabetic EPCs were less effective than normal EPCs at accelerating wound closure. Transplantation of diabetic EPCs after MnSOD gene therapy restored their ability to mediate angiogenesis and wound repair. Conversely, siRNA-mediated knockdown of MnSOD in normal EPCs reduced their activity in diabetic wound healing assays. Increasing the number of transplanted diabetic EPCs also improved the rate of wound closure. Our findings demonstrate that cell therapy using diabetic EPCs after ex vivo MnSOD gene transfer accelerates their ability to heal wounds in a mouse model of type 2 diabetes.
Circulating blood endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) contribute to postnatal vasculogenesis, providing a novel therapeutic target for vascular diseases. However, the molecular mechanism of EPC-induced vasculogenesis is unknown. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) plays multiple functions in angiogenesis and vascular remodeling. Our previous study demonstrated that the polymorphism (174G>C) in IL-6 gene promoter was associated with brain vascular disease. In this study, we investigated if IL-6 receptor is expressed in human endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) derived from circulating mononuclear cells, and if IL-6 stimulates EPC angiogenesis in vitro.
First, we isolated and cultured mononuclear cells from adult human circulating blood. We obtained EPC clones that were further cultured and expended for the angiogenesis study. We found that the EPCs possessed human mature endothelial cell phenotypes; however, they proliferated much faster than mature endothelial cells (p<0.05). We then found that IL-6 receptor (gp-80) was expressed in the EPCs, and that administration of IL-6 could activate receptor gp80/gp130 signaling pathways including downstream ERK1/2 and STAT-3 phosphorylation in EPCs. Furthermore, IL-6 stimulated EPC proliferation, migration and matrigel tube formation in a dose-dependent manner (p<0.05); anti-IL-6 antibodies or IL-6 receptor could abolish these effects (P<0.05). These results suggest that IL-6 plays a crucial role in the biological behavior of blood-derived EPCs, which may help clarify the mechanism of IL-6 inflammatory-related diseases.
angiogenesis; endothelial progenitor cell; ERK 1/2; interleukin-6; proliferation; migration; tube formation
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is commonly associated with both microvascular and macrovascular complications and a strong correlation exists between glycaemic control and the incidence and progression of vascular complications. Pioglitazone, a Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) ligand indicated for therapy of type T2DM, induces vascular effects that seem to occur independently of glucose lowering.
By using a hindlimb ischemia murine model, in this study we have found that pioglitazone restores the blood flow recovery and capillary density in ischemic muscle of diabetic mice and that this process is associated with increased expression of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). Importantly, these beneficial effects are abrogated when endogenous Akt is inhibited; furthermore, the direct activation of PPARγ, with its selective agonist GW1929, does not restore blood flow recovery and capillary density. Finally, an important collateral vessel growth is obtained with combined treatment with pioglitazone and selective PPARγ inhibitor GW9662.
These data demonstrate that Akt-VEGF pathway is essential for ischemia-induced angiogenic effect of pioglitazone and that pioglitazone exerts this effect via a PPARγ independent manner.
Endothelial cell progenitors, angioblasts, have been detected in the peripheral blood of adult humans, mice, and rabbits. These cells have been shown to incorporate into the endothelium of newly forming blood vessels in pathological and nonpathological conditions. Here we investigated the possibility that the CD34-expressing leukocytes (CD34+ cells) that appear to be enriched for angioblasts could be used to accelerate the rate of blood-flow restoration in nondiabetic and diabetic mice undergoing neovascularization due to hindlimb ischemia. CD34+ cells did not accelerate the restoration of flow in nondiabetic mice, but dramatically increased it in diabetic mice. Furthermore, CD34+ cells derived from type 1 diabetics produced fewer differentiated endothelial cells in culture than did their type 2 diabetic– or nondiabetic-derived counterparts. In vitro experiments suggest that hyperglycemia per se does not alter the ability of angioblasts to differentiate or of angioblast-derived endothelial cells to proliferate. In contrast, hyperinsulinemia may enhance angioblast differentiation but impair angioblast-derived endothelial cell survival or proliferation. Our findings suggest that CD34+ cells may be a useful tool for therapeutic angiogenesis in diabetics.
Bone marrow (BM)-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) have therapeutic potentials in promoting tissue regeneration, but how these cells are modulated in vivo has been elusive. Here, we report that RBP-J, the critical transcription factor mediating Notch signaling, modulates EPC through CXCR4. In a mouse partial hepatectomy (PHx) model, RBP-J deficient EPC showed attenuated capacities of homing and facilitating liver regeneration. In resting mice, the conditional deletion of RBP-J led to a decrease of BM EPC, with a concomitant increase of EPC in the peripheral blood. This was accompanied by a down-regulation of CXCR4 on EPC in BM, although CXCR4 expression on EPC in the circulation was up-regulated in the absence of RBP-J. PHx in RBP-J deficient mice induced stronger EPC mobilization. In vitro, RBP-J deficient EPC showed lowered capacities of adhering, migrating, and forming vessel-like structures in three-dimensional cultures. Over-expression of CXCR4 could at least rescue the defects in vessel formation by the RBP-J deficient EPC. These data suggested that the RBP-J-mediated Notch signaling regulated EPC mobilization and function, at least partially through dynamic modulation of CXCR4 expression. Our findings not only provide new insights into the regulation of EPC, but also have implications for clinical therapies using EPC in diseases.