Table of Contents
New Journal of Science
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 972043, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/972043
Review Article

Regulation of EPCs: The Gateway to Blood Vessel Formation

1Centre for Cancer Biology, SA Pathology and University of South Australia, Frome Road, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
2School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
3School of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
4Centre for Stem Cell Research, Robinson Institute, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia

Received 10 March 2014; Accepted 30 July 2014; Published 22 September 2014

Academic Editor: Keqiang Ye

Copyright © 2014 Kate A. Parham 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.

Abstract

Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are primitive endothelial precursors which are known to functionally contribute to the pathogenesis of disease. To date a number of distinct subtypes of these cells have been described, with differing maturation status, cellular phenotype, and function. Although there is much debate on which subtype constitutes the true EPC population, all subtypes have endothelial characteristics and contribute to neovascularisation. Vasculogenesis, the process by which EPCs contribute to blood vessel formation, can be dysregulated in disease with overabundant vasculogenesis in the context of solid tumours, leading to tumour growth and metastasis, and conversely insufficient vasculogenesis can be present in an ischemic environment. Importantly, it is widely known that transcription factors tightly regulate cellular phenotype and function by controlling the expression of particular target genes and in turn regulating specific signalling pathways. This suggests that transcriptional regulators may be potential therapeutic targets to control EPC function. Herein, we discuss the observed EPC subtypes described in the literature and review recent studies describing the role of a number of transcriptional families in the regulation of EPC phenotype and function in normal and pathological conditions.