CD34(+) progenitor cells hold promise for therapeutic neovascularization in various settings. In this study, the role of human peripheral blood CD34(+) cells in neovascularization and inflammatory cell recruitment was longitudinally studied in vivo. Human CD34(+) cells were incorporated in Matrigel, implanted subcutaneously in nude mice, and explanted after 2, 4, 7, or 14 days. Cell-free Matrigels served as controls. Histochemical analyses demonstrated that neovascularization occurred almost exclusively in CD34(+) implants. Cellular and capillary density were increased in cell-loaded Matrigels after 2 days and further increased at 14 days. Human CD34(+) cells did not incorporate in neovessels, but formed vWF(+)/ CD31(+)/NEGF(+) cell clusters that were present up to day 14. However, CD34(+) cells induced host neovascularization, as demonstrated by increased presence of murine CD31(+) and vWF(+) vasculature from day 7 to 14. Moreover, recruitment of murine monocytes/macrophages was significantly enhanced in CD34(+) implants at all time points. Gene expression of chemotactic cytokines MCPA and IL-8 was detected on CD34(+) cells in vitro and confirmed imummohistochemically in cell-loaded explants at all time points. Our data indicate that human CD34(+) cells, implanted in a hypoxic environment, generate an angiogenic niche by secreting chemotactic and angiogenic factors, enabling rapid neovascularization, possibly via recruitment of monocytes/macrophages. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- endothelial progenitor cell
- ENDOTHELIAL GROWTH-FACTOR