• Open Access

Role of hematopoietic lineage cells as accessory components in blood vessel formation


E-mail: ntakaku@kenroku.kanazawa-u.ac.jp


In adults, the vasculature is normally quiescent, due to the dominant influence of endogenous angiogenesis inhibitors over angiogenic stimuli. However, blood vessels in adults retain the capacity for brisk initiation of angiogenesis, the growth of new vessels from pre-existing vessels, during tissue repair and in numerous diseases, including inflammation and cancer. Because of the role of angiogenesis in tumor growth, many new cancer therapies are being conducted against tumor angiogenesis. It is thought that these anti-angiogenic therapies destroy the tumor vessels, thereby depriving the tumor of oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms in the process of sprouting angiogenesis may lead to more effective therapies not only for cancer but also for diseases involving abnormal vasculature. It is widely believed that after birth, endothelial cells (EC) in new blood vessels are derived from resident EC of pre-existing vessels. However, evidence is now emerging that cells derived from the bone marrow may also contribute to postnatal angiogenesis. Most studies have focused initially on the contribution of endothelial progenitor cells in this process. However, we have proposed a concept in which cells of the hematopoietic lineage are mobilized and then entrapped in peripheral tissues, where they function as accessory cells that promote the sprouting of resident EC by releasing angiogenic signals. Most recently we found that hematopoietic cells play major roles in tumor angiogenesis by initiating sprouting angiogenesis and also in maturation of blood vessels in the fibrous cap of tumors. Therefore, manipulating these entrapment signals may offer therapeutic opportunities to stimulate or inhibit angiogenesis. (Cancer Sci 2006; 97: 568–574)