Endothelial progenitor cell: a blood cell by many other names may serve similar functions
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- Yoder, M.C. J Mol Med (2013) 91: 285. doi:10.1007/s00109-013-1002-8
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The first reports of circulating cells that displayed the capacity to repair and regenerate damaged vascular endothelial cells as progenitor cells for the endothelial lineage (EPC) were met with great enthusiasm. However, the cell surface antigens and colony assays used to identify the putative EPC were soon found to overlap with those of the hematopoietic lineage. Over the past decade, it has become clear that specific hematopoietic subsets play important roles in vascular repair and regeneration. This review will provide some overview of the hematopoietic hierarchy and methods to segregate distinct subsets that may provide clarity in identifying the proangiogenic hematopoietic cells. This review will not discuss those circulating viable endothelial cells that play a role as EPC and are called endothelia colony-forming cells. The review will conclude with identification of some roadblocks to progress in the field of identification of circulating cells that participate in vascular repair and regeneration.