Progenitor cell trafficking in the vascular wall


Christian Weber, Institut für Molekulare Herz-Kreislaufforschung (IMCAR), Universitätsklinikum Aachen, Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany.
Tel.: +49 241 80 80580; fax: +49 241 80 82716.


Summary.  Adult endothelial as well as smooth muscle progenitor cells are engaged in the complex pathophysiology of atherosclerosis including primary remodeling with development and progression of atherosclerotic plaques as well as secondary complications associated with ischemia, endothelial damage, neointimal growth and transplant arteriosclerosis. These adult vascular precursor cells correspond to similar embryonic stem cell-derived progeny and are primarily located in bone marrow and peripheral blood. Recently, specific investigation on their recruitment emerged as a novel fundamental in the pathogenesis of arterial remodeling, plaque stability and angiogenesis. This multifaceted process of mobilization and homing is regulated by numerous chemokines, adhesion molecules and growth factors that guide and control the trafficking of vascular progenitor cells to the arterial wall after injury or during ischemia.