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The role of endothelial progenitor cells in atherosclerosis

Wijnmaalen, I.M. (2009) The role of endothelial progenitor cells in atherosclerosis. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Atherosclerosis is a progressive, inflammatory disease of the large and medium-sized arteries. Severe atherosclerotic lesions can result in myocardial infarction or stroke, which diseases contribute largely to the deaths worldwide. It is believed that endothelial dysfunction together with chronic inflammation initiates lesion formation. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are able to differentiate into endothelial cells and are believed to contribute to reendothelialization, neovascularization and neoangiogenesis. They are seen as critically for endothelial repair. Without sufficient levels of functioning EPCs, complete regeneration cannot take place. EPCs are currently seen as highly important factors in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Whether EPCs perform positive or negative roles in atherosclerosis has not been clarified because of differences between studies. Also, mechanisms have not been unraveled yet. It is possible that EPCs help to repair endothelial injury and atherosclerotic lesions and that they may mediate interactions between cardiovascular risk factors in such a manner that these risk factors are ruled out. However, EPCs can also possibly lead to enhancement of atherogenesis. They might play a role in the progression or maintenance of lesions due to their pro-inflammatory and proangiogenic properties. A lot of progress has already been made, but much of this subject is not yet fully understood. At this point, one can only speculate about the role of EPCs in atherosclerosis. Negative effects could be the consequence of a single group of EPCs which exhibit strong pro-inflammatory and angiogenic properties, positive effects can then be subscribed to a group of EPCs which possess more differentiating ability. Nowadays, there are already clinical trials in which autologous bone marrow derived cells, EPCs or other cellular pools are transplanted in patients with ischemia. However, one should be very careful with these treatments, because precise mechanisms and consequences are yet unknown.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:28
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:28

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