Several physiological and pathophysiological stimuli or drugs modulate endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) mobilization. Moreover, levels of circulating EPCs predict cardiovascular risk and left ventricular remodelling after myocardial infarction. Nevertheless, our understanding in this field is complicated by lack of an unequivocal definition of EPCs, thus limiting their clinical applications. This review summarizes current knowledge and uncertainties on EPC characterization and mobilization in the attempt to define their role in the management of cardiovascular diseases.
- endothelial progenitor cell