Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs) and Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) in Bone Healing
Nikolaos C. Keramaris,
Helen Lucy Moss,
Fracture healing is a complex physiological process. Local vascularity at the site of the fracture has been established
as one of the most important factors influencing the healing process, and lack of vascularity has been implicated in
atrophic non unions. Existing research has primarily involved utilising Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) to augment bone
healing but there remains much scope to explore the role of stem cells in the vascularisation process. Endothelial Progenitor
Cells (EPCs) and other Endothelial Cellular populations (ECs) could constitute a valid alternative to MSCs. This systematic
review is examining the importance of co-implantation of MSCs and EPCs/ECs for bone healing.
A literature search was performed using the Cochrane Library, OVID Medline, OVID EMBASE and Google Scholar,
searching for combinations of the terms ‘EPCs’, ‘Endothelial progenitor cells’, ‘angiogenesis’, ‘fracture’, ‘bone’ and
‘healing’. Finally 18 articles that fulfilled our criteria were included in this review.
ECs could be of value for the treatment of critical size bone defects as they are known to be capable of forming ectopic,
vascularised bone. The co-implantation of ECs with MSCs is more intriguing when we take into account the vast array of
complex reciprocal interactions between ECs and MSCs.
Keywords: Angiogenesis, bone and bones, EPCs, endothelial cells, fracture healing, mesenchymal stem cells, angiogenesis, critical size bone defects, vascularised bone, regeneration
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