, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 303-311,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 21 Jun 2009

Influence of the oxygen microenvironment on the proangiogenic potential of human endothelial colony forming cells

Abstract

Therapeutic angiogenesis is a promising strategy to promote the formation of new or collateral vessels for tissue regeneration and repair. Since changes in tissue oxygen concentrations are known to stimulate numerous cell functions, these studies have focused on the oxygen microenvironment and its role on the angiogenic potential of endothelial cells. We analyzed the proangiogenic potential of human endothelial colony-forming cells (hECFCs), a highly proliferative population of circulating endothelial progenitor cells, and compared outcomes to human dermal microvascular cells (HMVECs) under oxygen tensions ranging from 1% to 21% O2, representative of ischemic or healthy tissues and standard culture conditions. Compared to HMVECs, hECFCs (1) exhibited significantly greater proliferation in both ischemic conditions and ambient air; (2) demonstrated increased migration compared to HMVECs when exposed to chemotactic gradients in reduced oxygen; and (3) exhibited comparable or superior proangiogenic potential in reduced oxygen conditions when assessed using a vessel-forming assay. These data demonstrate that the angiogenic potential of both endothelial populations is influenced by the local oxygen microenvironment. However, hECFCs exhibit a robust angiogenic potential in oxygen conditions representative of physiologic, ischemic, or ambient air conditions, and these findings suggest that hECFCs may be a superior cell source for use in cell-based approaches for the neovascularization of ischemic or engineered tissues.