Isolation and characterization of endothelial progenitor cells from human blood

Current Protocols in Stem Cell Biology
Laura E MeadDavid A Ingram

Abstract

Circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in adult human peripheral blood were originally identified in 1997 by Asahara et al., which challenged the paradigm that vasculogenesis is a process restricted to embryonic development. Since their original identification, EPCs have been extensively studied as biomarkers to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease in human subjects and as a potential cell therapeutic for vascular regeneration. Endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs), which are a subtype of EPCs, were recently identified from circulating adult and human umbilical cord blood. In contrast to other types of EPCs, which display various monocyte/macrophage phenotypes and functions, ECFCs are characterized by robust proliferative potential, secondary and tertiary colony formation upon replating, and de novo blood vessel formation in vivo when transplanted into immunodeficient mice. In this unit, we describe detailed methodologies for isolation and characterization of ECFCs from both human peripheral and umbilical cord blood.

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