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Whether due to atherosclerotic disease or mechanical intervention, vascular injury is a frequently encountered pathology in cardiovascular medicine. The past decade has seen growing interest in the role of circulating endothelial progenitor cells in vessel recovery postinjury. Despite this, the definition, origin and potential role of endothelial progenitor cells in vascular regeneration remains highly controversial. While animal work has shown early promise, evidence of a therapeutic role for endothelial progenitor cells in humans remains elusive. To date, clinical trials involving direct cell administration, growth factor therapy and endothelial cell capture stents have largely been disappointing, although this may in part reflect limitations in study design. This article will outline the pathophysiological mechanisms of vascular injury with an emphasis on endothelial progenitor cell biology and the potential therapeutic role of this exciting new field.

Original publication




Journal article


Future cardiol

Publication Date





45 - 60


atherosclerosis, cell therapy, endothelial progenitor cells, percutaneous coronary intervention, vascular injury, Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists, Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors, Animals, Atherosclerosis, Blood Vessels, Disease Progression, Endothelial Progenitor Cells, Humans, Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors, Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins, Myocytes, Smooth Muscle, Pericytes, Plaque, Atherosclerotic, Rupture, Stents, Tissue Engineering