© 2014 The Authors. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have been demonstrated to be effective for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. However, the differentiation process from circulation to adhesion has not been clarified because circulating EPCs rarely attached to dishes in EPC cultures previously. Here we investigated whether immature circulating EPCs differentiate into mature adhesive EPCs in response to dextran. When floating-circulating EPCs derived from ex vivo expanded human cord blood were cultured with 5% and 10% dextran, they attached to fibronectin-coated dishes and grew exponentially. The bioactivities of adhesion, proliferation, migration, tube formation, and differentiated type of EPC colony formation increased in EPCs exposed to dextran. The surface protein expression rate of the endothelial markers vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-R1/2, VE-cadherin, Tie2, ICAM1, VCAM1, and integrin αv/b3 increased in EPCs exposed to dextran. The mRNA levels of VEGF-R1/2, VE-cadherin, Tie2, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, MMP9, and VEGF increased in EPCs treated with dextran. Those of endothelium-related transcription factors ID1/2, FOXM1, HEY1, SMAD1, FOSL1, NFkB1, NRF2, HIF1A, EPAS1 increased in dextran-treated EPCs; however, those of hematopoietic- and antiangiogenic-related transcription factors TAL1, RUNX1, c-MYB, GATA1/2, ERG, FOXH1, HHEX, SMAD2/3 decreased in dextran-exposed EPCs. Inhibitor analysis showed that PI3K/Akt, ERK1/2, JNK, and p38 signal transduction pathways are involved in the differentiation in response to dextran. In conclusion, dextran induces differentiation of circulating EPCs in terms of adhesion, migration, proliferation, and vasculogenesis. The differentiation mechanism in response to dextran is regulated by multiple signal transductions including PI3K/Akt, ERK1/2, JNK, and p38. These findings indicate that dextran is an effective treatment for EPCs in regenerative medicines.
Obi, S., Masuda, H., Akimaru, H., Shizuno, T., Yamamoto, K., Ando, J., & Asahara, T. (2014). Dextran induces differentiation of circulating endothelial progenitor cells. Physiological Reports, 2(3). https://doi.org/10.1002/phy2.261