Vertebrates have a highly evolved, closed circulatory system consisting of a distinct and dynamic network of blood vessels. See MoreThe lumen of each blood vessel is surrounded by a thin layer of endothelial cells (ECs) supported by a basement membrane and mural cells (pericytes and smooth muscle cells). ECs form the physical interface between the blood and surrounding solid tissues, and as such, regulate physiological events including vasodilatation and vasoconstriction, blood coagulation, nutrient delivery, gas exchange, and the homing of regulatory cells.1,2 In the adult, the formation of new blood vessels occurs via angiogenesis, arteriogenesis, and vasculogenesis.3,4 These processes are driven by the proliferation, migration and remodeling of ECs from pre-existing vessels (angiogenesis and arteriogenesis) or the differentiation of progenitor cells derived from mesodermal precursors (vasculogenesis).5-8 Angiogenesis is essential for wound healing and as a response to tissue ischemia, and plays a role in the formation of tumor vasculature. Post-natal vasculogenesis is also necessary for revascularization of ischemic tissues and wound healing, and plays a role in pathologies such as cancer, diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity.9

Review the complete article on Endothelial Progenitor Cells and Endothelial Cells.


  1. Cines DB, et al. Blood 91: 3527-3561,1998
  2. Edgington TS. FASEB 9: 841-842, 1995
  3. Flamme I, et al. J Cell Physiol 173: 206-210, 1997
  4. Conway DM, et al. Cardiovasc Res 49: 507-521, 2001
  5. Rafii S, et al. Nat Med 9: 702-712, 2003
  6. Masuda H, et al. Cardiovasc Res 58: 390-398, 2003
  7. Choi K, et al. Development 125: 725-732, 1998
  8. Bailey AS, et al. Exp Hematol 31: 987-993, 2003
  9. Yoder MC, et al. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med 2: a006692, 2012
See Less
Chat with an Expert