Endothelial Cell Differentiation Markers
Differentiation of the hemangioblast gives rise to Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) and Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs). In turn, these cells provide all the cells of the blood and endothelia, respectively. That HSCs and EPCs differentiate from a common precursor cell is supported by the fact that the two cell types both express a number of surface markers including CD31, CD34, Flk-1, Flt-1, Tie2, and VE-Cadherin. HSCs and EPCs also emerge simultaneously during development from mesodermal precursors. Originally thought to only be present during embryonic development, endothelial progenitor cells are now known to exist in the adult bone marrow. Endothelial progenitor cells differentiate to form the endothelial cells that compose the vasculature. Thus, the role of EPCs in angiogenesis is a pharmacological target for cancer therapies designed to prevent metastasis. Equally, research into endothelial progenitor cell function may reveal methods to promote recovery following endothelial injury and stimulate neovascularization of ischemic or damaged tissues.