Evaluation of Circulating Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms after Endovascular Aneurysm Repair

Int J Stem Cells. 2022 May 30;15(2):136-143. doi: 10.15283/ijsc21027.


Background and objectives: Circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) participate in vascular repair and predict cardiovascular outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the correlation between EPCs and abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs).

Methods and results: Patients (age 67±9.41 years) suffering from AAAs (aortic diameters 58.09±11.24 mm) were prospectively enrolled in this study. All patients received endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR). Blood samples were taken preoperatively and 14 days after surgery from patients with aortic aneurysms. Samples were also obtained from age-matched control subjects. Circulating EPCs were defined as those cells that were double positive for CD34 and CD309. Rat models of AAA formation were generated by the peri-adventitial elastase application of either saline solution (control; n=10), or porcine pancreatic elastase (PPE; n=14). The aortas were analyzed using an ultrasonic video system and immunohistochemistry. The levels of CD34/CD309 cells in the peripheral blood mononuclear cell populations were measured by flow cytometry. The baseline numbers of circulating EPCs (CD34/CD309) in the peripheral blood were significantly smaller in AAA patients compared with control subjects. The number of EPCs doubled by the 14th day after EVAR. A total of 78.57% of rats in the PPE group (11/14) formed AAAs (dilation ratio >150%). The numbers of EPCs from defined AAA rats were significantly decreased compared with the control group.

Conclusions: EPC levels may be useful for monitoring abdominal aorta aneurysms and rise after EVAR in patients with aortic aneurysms, and might contribute to the rapid endothelialization of vessels.

Keywords: Abdominal aortic aneurysms; Endothelial progenitor cells; Endovascular aneurysm repair; Porcine pancreatic elastase.