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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 274363, 8 pages
Research Article

Amelioration of Glucose Control Mobilizes Circulating Pericyte Progenitor Cells in Type 2 Diabetic Patients with Microangiopathy

1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Padova, 35128 Padova, Italy
2Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine, 35129 Padova, Italy
3European Institute of Oncology, 20141 Milan, Italy

Received 5 December 2011; Accepted 20 December 2011

Academic Editor: Paolo Madeddu

Copyright © 2012 Gian Paolo Fadini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chronic diabetic complications result from an imbalance between vascular damage and regeneration. Several circulating lineage-committed progenitor cells have been implicated, but no data are available on pericyte progenitor cells (PPCs). Based on the evidence that PPCs increase in cancer patients after chemotherapy, we explored whether circulating PPC levels are affected by glucose control in type 2 diabetic patients, in relation to the presence of chronic complications. We enumerated peripheral blood PPCs as Syto16+CD45−CD31−CD140b+ events by flow cytometry at baseline and after 3 and 6 months of glucose control by means of add-on basal insulin therapy on top of oral agents in 38 poorly controlled type 2 diabetic patients. We found that, in patients with microangiopathy (n=23), the level of circulating PPCs increased about 2 fold after 3 months and then returned to baseline at 6 months. In patients without microangiopathy (control group, n=15), PPCs remained fairly stable during the whole study period. No relationship was found between change in PPCs and macroangiopathy (either peripheral, coronary, or cerebrovascular). We conclude that glucose control transiently mobilizes PPCs diabetic patients with microangiopathy. Increase in PPCs may represent a vasoregenerative event or may be a consequence of ameliorated glucose control on microvascular lesions.