Endothelial progenitor cell research in stroke: a potential shift in pathophysiological and therapeutical concepts

Author(s): Rouhl RP, van Oostenbrugge RJ, Damoiseaux J, Tervaert JW, Lodder J

Abstract

Background and purpose: Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the Western world; however, few therapies are at hand to decrease this burden.

Summary of review: Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have been introduced in cardiovascular medicine as factotums. EPCs can repair damaged endothelium and attenuate the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Also, EPCs can form new vessels in ischemic areas and thus promote recovery after ischemic events. In stroke, however, EPC research is limited. In our overview, we provide background information on EPC use as a risk marker and as a potential therapeutic agent.

Conclusions: In our opinion, the lack of EPC studies in stroke should instigate vascular neurologists to participate in EPC research, as EPCs could also change pathophysiological concepts and improve clinical treatments in vascular neurology.

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