Enhanced endothelial progenitor cell angiogenic potency, present in early experimental renovascular hypertension, deteriorates with disease duration


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Abstract

BackgroundEndothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) augment neovascularization and repair of damaged tissues, but may undergo functional changes during exposure to cardiovascular risk factors. This study tested the hypothesis that early renovascular hypertension (RVH) modulates the temporal pattern of EPC function that deteriorates with disease duration.MethodsRVH was induced in domestic pigs by unilateral renal artery stenosis. EPCs were cultured after 3, 6, and 12 weeks of RVH or normal control to evaluate EPC function, growth factor, and homing receptor expression. Plasma renin activity (PRA), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and its soluble receptor-1 (sFlt-1) were measured in plasma. EPCs (10 × 106) isolated from 3-week RVH or from normal pigs were also injected into control kidneys (n = 6–7, each group), and 4 weeks later single-kidney renal blood flow (RBF) and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) were evaluated. Microvascular density was studied ex vivo using microcomputed tomography.ResultsBlood pressure peaked at 3 weeks and remained higher than normal throughout the study. Systemic PRA also peaked after 3 weeks of RVH and declined thereafter, whereas sFlt-1 showed a reciprocal pattern. In vivo, only RVH but not normal EPCs increased RBF, GFR, and microvascular density. RVH–EPCs showed in vitro enhanced proliferation, tube formation, VEGF, and homing receptor expression that peaked at 3 weeks, which were abolished by valsartan and returned to baseline levels after 12 weeks of RVH. EPC number remained unchanged throughout the study.ConclusionA transient enhancement of EPC function, mediated by angiotensin II, may contribute to compensatory vascular adaptation in early RVH, but is lost as hypertension persists.

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