Purpose of review: During the last several years, a substantial amount of evidence from animal as well as human studies has advanced our knowledge of how bone marrow derived cells contribute to neoangiogenesis. In the light of recent findings, we may have to redefine our thinking of endothelial cells as well as of perivascular mural cells.
Recent findings: Inflammatory hematopoietic cells, such as macrophages, have been shown to promote neoangiogenesis during tumor growth and wound healing. Dendritic cells, B lymphocytes, monocytes, and other immune cells have also been found to be recruited to neoangiogenic niches and to support neovessel formation. These findings have led to the concept that subsets of hematopoietic cells comprise proangiogenic cells that drive adult revascularization processes. While evidence of the importance of endothelial progenitor cells in adult vasculogenesis increased further, the role of these comobilized hematopoietic cells has been intensely studied in the last few years.
Summary: Angiogenic factors promote mobilization of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1-positive hematopoietic cells through matrix metalloproteinase-9 mediated release of soluble kit-ligand and recruit these proangiogenic cells to areas of hypoxia, where perivascular mural cells present stromal-derived factor 1 (CXCL-12) as an important retention signal. The same factors are possibly involved in mobilization of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2-positive endothelial precursors that may participate in neovessel formation. The complete characterization of mechanisms, mediators and signaling pathways involved in these processes will provide novel targets for both anti and proangiogenic therapeutic strategies.