, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 219-230
Date: 10 Dec 2009

Stimulation of endothelial progenitor cells: a new putative effect of several cardiovascular drugs

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The role of vascular endothelium in cardiovascular disorders is well recognized. Mature endothelial cells contribute to the repair of endothelial injury, but they only have a limited capacity to do so. This has led to growing interest and further investigation into circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and their role in vascular healing, repair, and postnatal neovascularization. The current perception of vascular health is that of a balance between ongoing injury and resultant vascular repair, mediated at least in part by circulating EPCs. Circulating EPCs play an important role in accelerating endothelialization at areas of vascular damage, and EPC enumeration is a viable strategy for assessing reparative capacity. Recent studies have shown that EPCs are affected both in number and function by several cardiovascular risk factors as well as various cardiovascular disease states, such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and coronary artery disease. The present review summarizes the most relevant studies on the effects of cardiovascular drugs on vascular function and EPCs, focusing on their mechanisms of action.