Endothelial progenitor cells show inverse correlation with coronary artery disease risk factors.

This study documents that patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) revealed reduced levels and functional impairment of bone marrow–derived circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which correlated with risk factors for CAD.

Analysis of the individual risk factors demonstrated that smokers had significantly reduced levels of EPCs and CD34-/KDR-positive cells, and that a positive family history of CAD was associated with reduced CD34-/KDR-positive cells. Hypertension was also identified as a major independent predictor for impaired EPC migration.

The conclusion is, given the important role of EPCs for neovascularization of ischemic tissue, the decrease of EPC numbers and activity may contribute to impaired vascularization in patients with CAD.

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