Early Prediction of Persistent Organ Failure by Circulating Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Patients With Acute Pancreatitis

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Increased circulating endothelial progenitor cells (cEPC) have been observed in patients with vascular injury associated with sepsis and acute lung injury. However, a role for cEPC in severe acute pancreatitis (SAP) remains unclear. We therefore conducted a prospective study to study whether the quantities of cEPC can predict persistent organ failure (POF) in patients with predicted SAP.


A total of 42 predicted SAP patients who were admitted within 24 h after symptom onset and 10 healthy control subjects were enrolled in our study. The proportions of cEPC were analyzed based on flow cytometry simultaneously. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


The percentage of cEPC was significantly higher in patients with predicted SAP compared with healthy controls. Similarly, the levels of VEGF in peripheral blood were also significantly higher in predicted SAP patients than in the controls. Notably, patients with POF had lower proportion of cEPC compared with patients with transient organ failure (TOF). In contrast, patients with POF had a significantly higher level of VEGF compared with TOF. Of note, the percentages of cEPC were significantly inversely correlated with disease severity scores. More importantly, cEPC showed an excellent discriminative power for predicting POF among predicted SAP patients, whereas plasma VEGF and disease severity scores showed moderate accuracy in predicting future POF.


Peripheral EPC as a novel biomarker is elevated and may aid to predict the development of POF in patients with predicted SAP.

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