Mobilization of endothelial precursor cells: systemic vascular response to musculoskeletal trauma

J Orthop Res. 2007 Jan;25(1):44-50. doi: 10.1002/jor.20228.


Postnatal vasculogenesis, the process by which vascular committed bone marrow stem cells or endothelial precursor cells (EPC) migrate, differentiate, and incorporate into the nacent endothelium contributing to physiological and pathological neovascularization, has stimulated much interest. Its contribution to tumor nonvascularization, wound healing, and revascularization associated with skeletal and cardiac muscles ischaemia is established. We evaluated the mobilization of EPCs in response to musculoskeletal trauma. Blood from patients (n = 15) following AO type 42a1 closed diaphyseal tibial fractures was analyzed for CD34 and AC133 cell surface marker expression. Immunomagnetically enriched CD34+ mononuclear cell (MNC(CD34+)) populations were cultured and examined for phenotypic and functional vascular endothelial differentiation. Circulating MNC(CD34+) levels increased sevenfold by day 3 postinjury. Circulating MNC(AC133+) increased 2.5-fold. Enriched MNC(CD34+) populations from day 3 samples in culture exhibited cell cluster formation with sprouting spindles. These cells bound UEA-1 and incorporated fluorescent DiI-Ac-LDL intracellularily. Our findings suggest a systemic provascular response is initiated in response to musculoskeletal trauma. Its therapeutic manipulation may have implications for the potential enhancement of fracture healing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD34 / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Tibial Fractures / physiopathology*


  • Antigens, CD34