Understanding the role of endothelial progenitor cells in vascular injury and repair
Mitchell, Andrew Joseph
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Introduction: Vascular injury is the crucial initiating event in atherosclerosis and is universal following percutaneous coronary intervention. The cellular response to this injury largely determines vessel outcome. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and their progeny, late outgrowth endothelial cells (EOCs) are thought to play an important role in this process and characterising this role would be valuable in better understanding vascular injury and repair. Methods: The radial artery in the context of transradial cardiac catheterisation was examined as a model of vascular injury with characterisation of structural injury, longitudinal function and EPC populations. To examine the role of late outgrowth endothelial cells a method for GMP-compliant cell culture and labelling with F18Fluorodeoxyglucose was developed with a view to conducting a cell-tracking study of human administration. Results: Radial artery function was reduced following transradial cardiac catheterisation with recovery over a period of three months. There was no correlation between recovery of arterial function and EPC populations as defined by conventional surface markers. A research grade protocol for EOC culture was successfully translated to a GMP-compliant process producing a viable, phenotypically homogeneous EOC product. Cells were successfully labelled with F18Fluorodeoxyglucose and whilst proliferation was reduced, acute viability and function were not compromised. Conclusion: The radial artery in the context of transradial cardiac catheterisation is a useful model of vascular injury and repair although recovery of vascular function does not appear to be influenced by EPC populations. GMP-compliant culture and labelling of EOCs is feasible and will allow examination of the physiology of these cells in vivo in man.