, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp 773-778
Date: 07 Mar 2010

Enhanced adhesive properties of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in patients with SLE

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Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are a population of bone marrow-derived cells present in the peripheral circulation, which possess the ability to migrate into areas where angioneogenesis is required and differentiate upon adhesion into mature endothelial cells. EPCs have reparative properties, are able to combat ischemia and have previously been shown to be decreased in level and function in inflammatory conditions. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multi-organ autoimmune inflammatory disorder associated with significantly increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. To investigate the numbers and functional properties of EPCs among patients suffering from SLE, thirty-one patients suffering from active SLE (American College of Rheumatology criteria) as well as 54 healthy controls were recruited. Disease activity was assessed using the SLEDAI score. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated and EPC numbers evaluated by the colony-forming unit (CFU) method. Functional properties were evaluated by EPC adherence to fibronectin. No significant difference was found between numbers of circulating EPC colony-forming units (CFUs) among patients with SLE and healthy individuals. A significant increase in adhesive capacity of EPCs to immobilized fibronectin was evident in patients with SLE compared to controls. An increase in adhesive capacity of circulating EPCs was observed in patients with SLE which may be related to altered endothelial function.