Improving cardiovascular outcomes in rheumatic diseases: Therapeutic potential of circulating endothelial progenitor cells

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Manchester
  • Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Manchester Metropolitan University


Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) have a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The reason for this is unclear but may be due, at least in part, to the failure of endothelial repair mechanisms. Over the last 15 years there has been much interest in the mechanisms of endothelial renewal and its potential as a therapy for CVD. In the circulation there are two distinct populations of cells; myeloid angiogenic cells (MACs) which augment repair by the paracrine secretion of angiogenic factors, and outgrowth endothelial cells (OECs) which are true endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and promote vasculogenesis by differentiating into mature endothelium. There are marked abnormalities in the number and function of these cells in patients with RA and SLE. Inflammatory cytokines including interferon-alpha (IFNα) and tumour-necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) both impair MAC and OEC function ex vivo and may therefore contribute to the CVD risk in these patients. Whilst administration of mononuclear cells, MACs and other progenitors has improved cardiovascular outcomes in the acute setting, this is not a viable option in chronic disease. The pharmacological manipulation of MAC/OEC function in vivo however has the potential to significantly improve endothelial repair and thus reduce CVD in this high risk population.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-243
Number of pages13
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2013


  • Endothelial progenitor cells, Myeloid angiogenic cells, Outgrowth endothelial cells, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Vascular repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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