Introduction: Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are bone marrow-derived cells playing a critical role in adult vasculogenesis and endothelial homeostasis, as they are recruited to sites of endothelial injury where they contribute to blood vessel formation and repair. Since their first description in 1997, EPCs have stimulated considerable interest among scientists due to the observation that variations in their number and function are associated with many pathological conditions including cardiovascular, cancer, and metabolic diseases. However, comparative interpretation of clinical studies on EPCs is still hampered by the lack of standardized methods employed for EPC quantification and analysis. Methods: Two main approaches are currently used to study circulating EPCs. One approach consists in identifying and selecting EPCs by cell surface phenotype using fluorescently labeled antibodies and flow cytometry directly performed on peripheral blood samples. The second approach consists in isolating and expanding EPCs in vitro, starting from peripheral blood samples. Key advantages, limits and critical methodological aspects of each approach will be illustrated. Results: EPC variations observed in pathological conditions will be shown, mainly focused on the involvement of EPCs in cardiovascular diseases. The behaviour of EPCs during particular physiologic challenges, such as systemic hypoxia exposure and physical exercise, will also be described in order to provide some insight into the role and function of EPCs in human physiopathology. Conclusions: Changes in the number and function of circulating EPCs may be relevant to the study of a wide range of human diseases. If the methods for studying EPCs will be adequately standardized and adapted for routine use, EPC analysis will likely become a valuable diagnostic and prognostic non-invasive tool useful for patient follow-up.
|Titolo:||Analysis of endothelial progenitor cells in human healthy and pathological pregnancies|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore MED/04 - Patologia Generale|
Settore MED/40 - Ginecologia e Ostetricia
|Data di pubblicazione:||2014|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|