Functional endothelial progenitor cells derived from adipose tissue show beneficial effect on cell therapy of traumatic brain injury.
ABSTRACT Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are responsible for postnatal vasculogenesis in physiological and pathological neovascularization. Adipose tissue (AT) is an abundant source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which have multipotent differentiation ability. We successfully derived EPCs from AT, which maintained a strong proliferative capacity and demonstrated the characteristic endothelial function of uptaking of acetylated low-density lipoprotein. They formed tube-like structures in vitro. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) gene expression in EPCs was similar to that in mature endothelial cells. Transplantation of EPCs derived from AT after the acute phase was applied in rats with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Transplanted EPCs participated in the neovascularization of injured brain. Improving functional recovery, reducement of deficiency volume of brain, host astrogliosis and inflammation were found. These results suggest that adult AT derived stem cells can be induced to functional EPCs and have beneficial effect on cell therapy.