Recent evidence indicates that circulating endothelial progenitor cells can play an important role, not only in endothelium homeostasis of the pre-stroke brain, but also in angiogenesis of the post-stroke brain. Circulating endothelial progenitor cells are considered to repair endothelial cells by incorporating them into newly formed vessels, or by releasing pro-angiogenic factors. The number or function of circulating endothelial progenitor cells can be modulated by various kinds of factors. For example, elevated serum cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and smoking decreased the number whereas vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), exercise, and statins can increase it. In this review, we discuss the present knowledge of endogenous mechanisms for the repair of endothelial cells, and how to enhance their possible capacity to remodel vascular units as neuronal self-repair strategies.
Keywords: Endothelial progenitor cells, angiogenesis, stroke, VEGF, statin, pre-stroke brain, post-stroke brain, endothelium homeostasis, hypertension, diabetes.
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