Tissue regeneration using endothelial colony-forming cells: promising cells for vascular repair

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Repairing and rebuilding damaged tissue in diseased human subjects remains a daunting challenge for clinical medicine. Proper vascular formation that serves to deliver blood-borne nutrients and adequate levels of oxygen and to remove wastes is critical for successful tissue regeneration. Endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFC) represent a promising cell source for revascularization of damaged tissue. ECFCs are identified by displaying a hierarchy of clonal proliferative potential and by pronounced postnatal vascularization ability in vivo. In this review, we provide a brief overview of human ECFC isolation and characterization, a survey of a number of animal models of human disease in which ECFCs have been shown to have prominent roles in tissue repair, and a summary of current challenges that must be overcome before moving ECFC into human subjects as a cell therapy.

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Correspondence to Mervin C Yoder.

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