Hemangioma is the most common soft-tissue tumor of infancy. Despite the frequency of these vascular tumors, the origin of hemangioma-endothelial cells is unknown. Circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have recently been identified as vascular stem cells with the capacity to contribute to postnatal vascular development. We have attempted to determine whether circulating EPCs are increased in hemangioma patients and thereby provide insight into the role of EPCs in hemangioma growth. METHODS AND RESULTS: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from hemangioma patients undergoing surgical resection (N = 5) and from age-matched controls (N = 5) undergoing strabismus correction surgery. PBMCs were stained with fluorescent-labeled antibodies for AC133, CD34, and VEGFR2/KDR. Fluorescent-labeled isotype antibodies served as negative controls. Histologic sections of surgical specimens were stained with the specific hemangioma markers Glut1, CD32, and merosin, to confirm the diagnosis of common hemangioma of infancy. EPCs harvested from healthy adult volunteers were stained with Glut1, CD32, and merosin, to assess whether cultured EPCs express known hemangioma markers. Hemangioma patients had a 15-fold increase in the number of circulating CD34 AC133 dual-staining cells relative to controls (0.78+/-0.14% vs.0.052+/-0.017%, respectively). Similarly, the number of PBMCs that stained positively for both CD34 and KDR was also increased in hemangioma patients (0.49+/-0.074% vs. 0.19+/-0.041% in controls). Cultured EPCs stained positively for the known hemangioma markers Glut1, CD32, merosin. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to suggest a role for EPCs in the pathogenesis of hemangioma. Our results imply that increased levels of circulating EPCs may contribute to the formation of this vascular tumor.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine