Angiogenesis, Endothelial & Pro-Angiogenic Cell Core
Angiogenesis is defined as the sprouting of new blood vessels from pre-existing vasculature and is one of the three major paradigms for blood vessel formation (vasculogenesis, angiogenesis, and arteriogenesis). Since 1997, a hypothesis that bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) also contribute to new vessel formation has been widely espoused, however, at present there is no unique marker that permits unequivocal isolation of an EPC. Thus, numerous cell types of several different cell lineages have all been referred to as “EPCs.”
The Angiogenesis, Endothelial & Pro-Angiogenic Cell Core (AEPCC) is a state-of-the-art facility that has been established through the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, to conduct validated and highly reproducible in vitro and in vivo angiogenesis, endothelial, hematopoietic and multi-parametric flow cytometry assays and their role in normal and patient-related hematologic and cardiovascular disorders.
In addition to possessing the in vitro and in vivo assays that define the endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) that possess in vivo vessel forming ability, the AEPCC recently stringently defined a population of pro-angiogenic and anti-angiogenic circulating hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (CHSPCs) that has been shown to regulate angiogenesis. Discovery of these novel CHSPC subsets demonstrates the uniqueness and strength of the approach by the AEPCC that requires both phenotypic and functional data to validate specific circulating cells that participate in new blood vessel formation.
The specific assays offered by the AEPCC function as quantitative analytical tools, potential biomarkers of several hematopoietic diseases, and as experimental platforms for understanding the basic mechanisms of angiogenesis and the interplay between the endothelial and hematopoietic systems. For example, not only are CHSPCs critical for normal and abnormal angiogenesis, but we and others have reported that certain endothelial cells are critical for CHSPC expansion ex vivo and that endothelial cells promote CHSPC engraftment post-ablation.
The AEPCC serves to directly perform all of the assays required to analyze research samples, and as a consultation, education, and new assay development site for scientists within and outside the IU School of Medicine and Indiana University.
Furthermore, the AEPCC is one of only five nationally recognized Centers of Excellence in Molecular Hematology by the National Institutes of Health and is a core of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI).