Author(s): Fadini GP, Avogaro A
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Abstract Diabetes mellitus increases cardiovascular risk through its negative impact on vascular endothelium. Although glucotoxicity and lipotoxicity account for endothelial cell damage, endothelial repair is also affected by diabetes. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are involved in the maintenance of endothelial homoeostasis and in the process of new vessel formation. For these reasons, EPCs are thought to have a protective impact within the cardiovascular system. In addition, EPCs appear to modulate the functioning of other organs, providing neurotropic signals and promoting repair of the glomerular endothelium. The exact mechanisms by which EPCs provide cardiovascular protection are unknown and the definition of EPCs is not standardized. Notwithstanding these limitations, the literature consistently indicates that EPCs are altered in type 1 and type 2 diabetes and in virtually all diabetic complications. Moreover, experimental models suggest that EPC-based therapies might help prevent or reverse the features of end-organ complications. This identifies EPCs as having a novel pathogenic role in diabetes and being a potential therapeutic target. Several ways of favourably modulating EPCs have been identified, including lifestyle intervention, commonly used medications and cell-based approaches. Herein, we provide a comprehensive overview of EPC pathophysiology and the potential for EPC modulation in diabetes.
This article was published in Diabetes Obes Metab
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy