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Therapeutic Potential of Endothelial Progenitor Cells in the Field of Orthopaedics

[ Vol. 12 , Issue. 1 ]


Yohei Kawakami, Tomoyuki Matsumoto, Yutaka Mifune, Tomoaki Fukui, Kunj G. Patel, Garth N. Walker, Masahiro Kurosaka and Ryosuke Kuroda   Pages 3 - 13 ( 11 )


Inadequate blood supply frequently impedes the viability of tissue-engineered constructs in the initial phase after implantation, and can lead to improper cell integration or cell death. Vascularization using stem cells has continued to evolve as a potential solution to this problem. In this review, we summarize studies that utilize endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) for musculoskeletal regeneration. This review will also highlight recent concepts for EPC identification in conjunction with the development of EPC biology research. EPCs promote bone regeneration in animal models through a variety of mechanisms. By differentiating toward endothelial cell lineages and osteoblasts, EPCs stimulate vasculogenesis, angiogenesis and osteogenesis. Moreover, EPCs influence supporting cells through the secretion of growth factors and cytokines. Phase I/II clinical trials have applied circulating CD34+ cells/EPCs to nonunion bone fractures and have exhibited promising results including accelerated bone healing. Similar mechanisms of angiogenesis and osteogenesis are proposed for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptured tissue derived CD34+ cells, and thus EPCs have implied a critical role at the site of tendon-bone integration. EPCs are an emerging strategy among other cell-based therapies in the field of orthopaedics for the promotion of musculoskeletal regeneration.


Bone tissue engineering, cell-based therapy, endothelial progenitor cell (EPC), fracture healing, musculoskeletal injury, tendon regeneration.


Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, 7-5-1 Kusunoki-Cho, Chuo-Ku, Kobe 650-0017, Japan.

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