"We can show that after transplantation, some CD31 positive cells do become endothelial cells, but their main effect is more to support other cells than to become the building blocks," Yoon says.
The researchers used antibodies against CD31 to sort human blood or mouse bone marrow cells into two groups: cells with CD31 and those without. They then tested these cells' ability to spur blood vessel regrowth in mice whose hind legs had a blocked blood supply.
In the project described in Circulation Research, after two weeks more than 80 percent of the mouse hind legs transplanted with CD31 positive bone marrow cells survived, while less than 15 percent of the legs transplanted with CD31 negative cells survived. In laser Doppler images, the mice with CD31 positive cells injected into their legs had greatly enhanced blood flow and an increased number of capillaries.
Yoon says harvesting CD31 positive cells may have several advantages compared to previous methods of treating cardiovascular disease. The cells can be prepared without the need to grow them in a dish for several days, and it may not be necessary to take large volumes of blood or bone marrow from the patientan advantage with respect to safety. In addition, cells from mice used to simulate atherosclerosis (mutant for a gene that helps clear fat from the blood and given a high-fat diet) do not seem to lose their repair potential.
"Based on the insights gained from preclinical and clinical studies from several investigators, we view the use of CD31 positive cells as a second-generation cardiovascular cell therapy that could be a novel option for the treatment of peripheral artery disease," Yoon says.
He adds that CD31 positive cells may have potential for treating other conditions, including heart attack, heart failure and diabetic neurop
|Contact: Holly Korschun|