Endothelial progenitor cells in adolescents: impact of overweight, age, smoking, sport and cytokines in younger age

  • Christian Jung
  • Nicole Fischer
  • Michael Fritzenwanger
  • Hansjörg Thude
  • Markus Ferrari
  • Marlen Fabris
  • Bernhard R. Brehm
  • Dagmar Barz
  • Hans R. Figulla


Background and aims

Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are bone marrow derived pluripotent vascular progenitor cells capable to contribute to reendothelialization and neovascularization. The number of circulating EPCs has been established as a biomarker of cardiovascular risk and is known to decrease with age. We determined the number of EPCs in teenagers and evaluated the influence of traditional risk factors focusing on overweight.


79 male adolescents were enrolled (age 13–17 years; 42 of normal weight: 64.1 ± 7.6 kg; 37 above the 90th BMI-percentile: 96.9 ± 20.5 kg). 41 healthy adults served as controls. EPCs were counted by flow cytometry (CD34+/−CD133/KDR). Besides traditional risk factors, cholesterol, and high sensitive CRP different cytokines were determined.


Overweight adolescents have a higher systolic blood pressure, higher hsCRP, higher HbA(1c) and lower HDL. The number of CD34-negative EPCs, but not CD34-positive EPCs is higher in overweight adolescents. The overall level of EPCs is lower in adolescents compared to adults.


Overweight in adolescents influences EPCs in early life. CD34-negative EPCs might be more sensitive to the early risk profile and may represent a biological marker of occult vascular damage. Beginning insulin resistance, endothelial damage and elevation of EPCs could indicate the higher risk for future cardiovascular disease in obese teenagers.


endothelial progenitor cells overweight adolescents cytokines cardiovascular risk factors 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Jung
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nicole Fischer
    • 1
    • 3
  • Michael Fritzenwanger
    • 1
  • Hansjörg Thude
    • 3
  • Markus Ferrari
    • 1
  • Marlen Fabris
    • 1
    • 3
  • Bernhard R. Brehm
    • 1
  • Dagmar Barz
    • 3
  • Hans R. Figulla
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinic of Internal Medicine IFriedrich-Schiller-UniversityJenaGermany
  2. 2.Department of CardiologyKarolinska-University-HospitalStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Institute for Transfusion MedicineFriedrich-Schiller-UniversityJenaGermany

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