Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) play a role in endogenous neovascularization of ischaemic tissues. Isolation and characterization of EPCs from circulating mononuclear cells are important for developing targeted cellular therapies and reproducibility of data are the major scientific goals. Here we compared two currently employed isolation methods, i.e. from total peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and from enriched CD133+ cells, by defining the cell morphology and functional activities. We show that EPCs from cultured PBMCs resulted in an adherent population of 23% ± 4% merged cells positive for Dil-Ac-LDL and lectin, whereas the percentage of double positive cells in cultured CD133+ enriched cells was 50% ± 7% (P <0.01). These data were obtained through a novel and a more complete method of analysis of cell calculations (specifically by dividing each microscope field into 120 subfields). When stimulated with tumour necrosis factor α (TNF)-α and glucose, cell number was reduced in EPCs from total PBMCs and, more consistently, in CD133+ enriched cells. However, both cultured total PBMCs and CD133+ enriched cells respond similarly to TNF-α or glucose-induced p38-phosphorylation.EPCs from both procedures show similar results in terms of phenotype and response to modulators of their functional activities. However, when the cell phenotype of CD133 + enrichment-derived cells was compared with that of cells from the total PBMC, a significant increase in CD133+ expression was observed (P <0.01) This may have relevance during intervention studies using cultured EPCs.
- Endothelial progenitor cells
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