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Genetic lineage tracing analysis of c-kit+ stem/progenitor cells revealed a contribution to vascular injury-induced neointimal lesions.

Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology (2018-07-28)
Qishan Chen, Mei Yang, Hong Wu, Jiaojiao Zhou, Weina Wang, Hongkun Zhang, Lin Zhao, Jianhua Zhu, Bin Zhou, Qingbo Xu, Li Zhang
ABSTRACT

Accumulating evidence indicates the presence of vascular stem/progenitor cells that may play a role in endothelial repair and lesion formation in the injured artery, in which c-kit+ stem/progenitor cells have been reported to differentiate into endothelial and smooth muscle cells in vitro and in ischemic tissue. In this study, we investigated whether and how endogenous c-kit+ stem/progenitor cells contribute to vascular injury and neointima formation in vivo. We created Kit-CreERxRosa26-RFP mice and performed genetic lineage tracing analysis of c-kit+ stem/progenitor cells in injury-induced neointima formation in vivo. We provide direct evidence that endogenous c-kit+ stem/progenitor cells minimally differentiate into endothelial or smooth muscle cells facilitating vascular repair, but predominantly generate monocytes/macrophages and granulocytes contributing to vascular immuno-inflammatory response to endothelial injury. Although c-kit+ cells reside in both bone marrow and vessel wall, bone marrow transplantation data indicate that bone marrow-derived c-kit+ cells are the main source for enhancing neointima formation. Furthermore, treatment of ACK2, a c-kit receptor antagonizer, attenuates neointimal hyperplasia after injury at least in part by depleting c-kit+ cells and their generated progeny. c-kit+ stem/progenitor cells are not a main source for endothelial regeneration and smooth muscle accumulation of the large artery injury, but a plausible interventional approach to reduce vascular immuno-inflammatory response and subsequently to ameliorate vascular lesions.