Human endothelial progenitor cells

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2012 Jul;2(7):a006692. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a006692.


Human endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have been generally defined as circulating cells that express a variety of cell surface markers similar to those expressed by vascular endothelial cells, adhere to endothelium at sites of hypoxia/ischemia, and participate in new vessel formation. Although no specific marker for an EPC has been identified, a panel of markers has been consistently used as a surrogate marker for cells displaying the vascular regenerative properties of the putative EPC. However, it is now clear that a host of hematopoietic and vascular endothelial subsets display the same panel of antigens and can only be discriminated by an extensive gene expression analysis or use of a variety of functional assays that are not often applied. This article reviews our current understanding of the many cell subsets that constitute the term EPC and provides a concluding perspective as to the various roles played by these circulating or resident cells in vessel repair and regeneration in human subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Surface / metabolism*
  • Blood Vessels / physiology*
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Regeneration* / genetics
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / physiology*


  • Antigens, Surface