Background and aims: The number of Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs) is considered a novel marker of cardiovascular (CV) disease. It is not clear which are the main determinants of EPC number in apparently healthy subjects in the absence of overt clinical CV or metabolic abnormalities. We evaluated the main clinical determinants of EPC levels in a population of healthy subjects with normal glucose tolerance. Methods and results: EPC number was determined in 122 healthy subjects (73M/49F;36.6 ± 8yrs). Blood samples were collected to test biochemical variables. OGTT was performed and insulin resistance/compensatory hyperinsulinemia was defined according to fasting plasma insulin (FPI) levels. EPCs were identified as cells co-expressing CD133/CD34/KDR antigens by flow-cytometry. CD133+/KDR+ count inversely correlated with BMI (rho=-0.18;p <0.05), waist circumference (-0.2;+/CD133+/KDR+ count inversely correlated with uric acid (-0.28;+/KDR+ levels were lower in insulin resistant compared to insulin sensitive males (p <0.05) with no differences in females. Conclusion: The male gender is an independent predictor of low EPC levels in healthy subjects. This might contribute to explaining the higher CV risk in males compared to pre-menopausal age-matched females. In this study a reduced EPC number seems to be associated with insulin resistance in male subjects.
- Endothelial progenitor cells
- Insulin resistance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine