Exploring Endothelial Colony-Forming Cells to Better Understand the Pathophysiology of Disease: An Updated Review

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Stem Cells Int. 2022 May 16;2022:4460041. doi: 10.1155/2022/4460041. eCollection 2022.


Endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction has been implicated in a variety of pathological conditions. The collection of ECs from patients is typically conducted postmortem or through invasive procedures, such as surgery and interventional procedures, hampering efforts to clarify the role of ECs in disease onset and progression. In contrast, endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs), also termed late endothelial progenitor cells, late outgrowth endothelial cells, blood outgrowth endothelial cells, or endothelial outgrowth cells, are obtained in a minimally invasive manner, namely, by the culture of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in endothelial growth medium. ECFCs resemble mature ECs phenotypically, genetically, and functionally, making them excellent surrogates for ECs. Numerous studies have been performed that examined ECFC function in conditions such as coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, congenital bicuspid aortic valve disease, pulmonary arterial hypertension, venous thromboembolic disease, and von Willebrand disease. Here, we provide an updated review of studies using ECFCs that were performed to better understand the pathophysiology of disease. We also discuss the potential of ECFCs as disease biomarkers and the standardized methods to culture, quantify, and evaluate ECFCs and suggest the future direction of research in this field.

PMID:35615696 | PMC:PMC9126670 | DOI:10.1155/2022/4460041