Objective: Given their involvement in pathological and physiological angiogenesis, there has been growing interest in understanding and manipulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) for therapeutic purposes. However, detailed molecular analysis of EPC before and during endothelial differentiation is lacking and is the subject of the present study.
Materials and methods: We report a detailed microarray gene-expression profile of freshly isolated (day 0) human cord blood (CB)-derived EPC (CD133+KDR+ or CD34+KDR+), and at different time points during in vitro differentiation (early: day 13; late: day 27).
Results: Data obtained reflect an EPC transcriptome enriched in genes related to stem/progenitor cells properties (chromatin remodeling, self-renewal, signaling, cytoskeleton organization and biogenesis, recruitment, and adhesion). Using a complementary DNA microarray enriched in intronic transcribed sequences, we observed, as well, that naturally transcribed intronic noncoding RNAs were specifically expressed at the EPC stage.
Conclusion: Taken together, we have defined the global gene-expression profile of CB-derived EPC during the process of endothelial differentiation, which can be used to identify genes involved in different vascular pathologies.