Phenotypic and functional characterization of endothelial colony forming cells derived from human umbilical cord blood

Nutan Prasain, J. Luke Meador, Mervin C. Yoder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Longstanding views of new blood vessel formation via angiogenesis, vasculogenesis, and arteriogenesis have been recently reviewed. The presence of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) were first identified in adult human peripheral blood by Asahara et al. in 1997 bringing an infusion of new hypotheses and strategies for vascular regeneration and repair. EPCs are rare but normal components of circulating blood that home to sites of blood vessel formation or vascular remodeling, and facilitate either postnatal vasculogenesis, angiogenesis, or arteriogenesis largely via paracrine stimulation of existing vessel wall derived cells. No specific marker to identify an EPC has been identified, and at present the state of the field is to understand that numerous cell types including proangiogenic hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, circulating angiogenic cells, Tie2 + monocytes, myeloid progenitor cells, tumor associated macrophages, and M2 activated macrophages participate in stimulating the angiogenic process in a variety of preclinical animal model systems and in human subjects in numerous disease states. Endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) are rare circulating viable endothelial cells characterized by robust clonal proliferative potential, secondary and tertiary colony forming ability upon replating, and ability to form intrinsic in vivo vessels upon transplantation into immunodeficient mice. While ECFCs have been successfully isolated from the peripheral blood of healthy adult subjects, umbilical cord blood (CB) of healthy newborn infants, and vessel wall of numerous human arterial and venous vessels, CB possesses the highest frequency of ECFCs that display the most robust clonal proliferative potential and form durable and functional blood vessels in vivo. While the derivation of ECFC from adult peripheral blood has been presented, here we describe the methodologies for the derivation, cloning, expansion, and in vitro as well as in vivo characterization of ECFCs from the human umbilical CB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere3872
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number62
StatePublished - Apr 13 2012


  • Cell culture
  • Cellular Biology
  • Cloning
  • Endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs)
  • Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs)
  • Issue 62
  • Post-natal vasculogenesis
  • Single cell colony forming assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)

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