• Acute myocardial infarction;
  • Endothelial progenitor cells;
  • Hepatocyte growth factor;
  • Preinfarction angina;
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

Eur J Clin Invest 2011; 41 (11): 1220–1226


Background  Preinfarction angina, a possible form of ischaemic preconditioning, improves the prognosis in patients who experience a major ischaemic event; though the associated pathophysiology is not yet fully understood. The aim of this study was to determine the possible involvement of endothelial progenitor cells (EPC), the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in the development of preinfarction angina.

Methods and results  We studied 41 patients (60·5 ± 12 years; 34% women) and 14 healthy controls; 43·9% of the patients had preinfarction angina. No differences were found in the baseline characteristics of the two groups. Although the EPC, VEGF and HGF were raised as compared with the control group, no significant differences were found according to the presence or absence of preinfarction angina in the levels of EPC (baseline, P = 0·25; day 3, P = 0·11; day 7, P = 0·32), VEGF (baseline, P = 0·96; day 3, P = 0·06; day 7, P = 0·57) or HGF (baseline, P = 0·18; day 3, P = 1; day 7, P = 0·86). An association was seen in the patients who had preinfarction angina between the EPC levels at baseline and on days 3 and 7 and the HGF on admission with the time from the angina to the STEMI (β = −0·070; β = −0·066; β = −0·081; β = −80·16; P < 0·05), showing a reduction in the level of EPC cells for each hour passed since the event.

Conclusions  No differences were found in the release kinetics of EPC, VEGF or HGF after a first infarction according to whether the patients had angina during the week before the infarction.