Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in ageing and age-related diseases: How currently available treatment modalities affect EPC biology, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular outcomes

Mech Ageing Dev. 2016 Oct;159:49-62. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2016.02.009. Epub 2016 Feb 23.


Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are mononuclear cells that circulate in the blood and are derived from different tissues, expressing cell surface markers that are similar to mature endothelial cells. The discovery of EPCs has lead to new insights in vascular repair and atherosclerosis and also a new theory for ageing. EPCs from the bone marrow and some other organs aid in vascular repair by migrating to distant vessels where they differentiate into mature endothelial cells and replace old and injured endothelial cells. The ability of EPCs to repair vascular damage depends on their number and functionality. Currently marketed drugs used in a variety of diseases can modulate these characteristics. In this review, the effect of currently available treatment options for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders on EPC biology will be discussed. The various EPC-based therapies that will be discussed include lipid-lowering agents, antihypertensive agents, antidiabetic drugs, phosphodiesteraze inhibitors, hormones, as well as EPC capturing stents.

Keywords: Ageing; Atherosclerosis; EPC-focused treatment; Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aging / pathology
  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism*
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Atherosclerosis / therapy*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / pathology
  • Endothelial Progenitor Cells / metabolism*
  • Endothelial Progenitor Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Regeneration*