• polychromatic flow cytometry;
  • circulating progenitor cells;
  • endothelial progenitor cells;
  • angiogenesis;
  • peripheral arterial disease


Defining whether human circulating proangiogenic cells represent a subset of the hematopoietic system and express CD45 or are hematopoietic derivatives that do not express CD45 (and are called endothelial progenitor cells) remains controversial. We have previously developed a polychromatic flow cytometry (PFC) protocol to isolate subsets of hematopoietic cells and we now identify the circulating pool of CD34+CD45dim cells representing functional circulating hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (CHSPCs) that can be separated on the basis of AC133 expression and report that the AC133+ subset of the CHSPCs enhances the growth of tumor blood vessels in vivo in immunodeficient mice. In addition, the ratio of AC133+ proangiogenic CHSPCs to AC133 nonangiogenic CHSPCs unambiguously correlates with the severity of the clinical state of patients with peripheral arterial disease. In sum, a PFC protocol validated via in vitro and in vivo analyses, can be used to interrogate the roles of human hematopoietic elements in the growth and maintenance of the vasculature. © 2010 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry