The effects of ethanol consumption on vasculogenesis potential in nonhuman primates

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2008 Jan;32(1):155-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2007.00558.x. Epub 2007 Dec 7.


Background: Vasculogenesis is essential to the preservation and repair of damaged or diseased vessels. Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among young adults, but its effects on vessel growth and repair are unknown. The basis of vascular repair is endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) recruitment to assist in the formation of new vascular network (vasculogenesis). Therefore, the objective of this study was to measure the effects of ethanol consumption on the production, mobilization and vasculogenesis potential EPCs in nonhuman primates.

Methods: Four to five year-old (young adult) male rhesus monkeys consumed monkey chow and water (Control, n = 7), or chow and water + ethanol (Alcohol, 2.45 g/d, n = 7) for 12 months. Peripheral blood (PB) and bone marrow (BM) samples were collected for fluorescence-activated cell-sorting analysis of cell surface antigens (CD45, CD31, CD44, CD133, VEGF-R2 - or KDR); and for capillary formation on Matrigel-coated plates.

Results: There were greater numbers of nonhematopoeitic stromal cells (CD45-) and putative mesenchymal progenitor cells (CD45-/CD44+) in the PB and BM of Alcohol versus Control monkeys (p < 0.05). Additionally, there were greater numbers of EPCs (CD45-/CD133+/KDR+) in the BM and PB of Alcohol versus Control monkeys (p < 0.05). However, the EPCs of Alcohol monkeys were less likely to form capillaries on matrigel-coated plates than Control monkeys (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Ethanol consumption in monkeys markedly increased the production and mobilization of EPCs, but decreased their ability to form capillaries. The pathophysiologic consequences of such effects are unclear, but may represent an ethanol-induced chronic stress on the BM, resulting in EPC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Animals
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Blood Cells / cytology
  • Blood Cells / drug effects
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / pharmacology*
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / growth & development*
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Immunochemistry
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Microtubules / drug effects
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / drug effects*


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase