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Research

Vascular regeneration by endothelial progenitor cells

The recent landmark discovery of an endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) present in the adult circulation with the potential to repair damaged blood vessels generated great excitement due to its clinical potential for vascular regeneration. However, debate continues regarding the origin, residence, molecular and genetic profile, and functions of EPC. As such, an adult EPC has not been conclusively identified to date. The primary goal of our research is to apply new strategies and technologies to identify and characterise endothelial progenitor cells (EPC), to understand how EPC maintain structural integrity of the blood vessel wall in health, and to elucidate the mechanisms through which EPC can regenerate blood vessel wall following disease or injury.

Mairi Brittan

Affiliated researcher
Dr
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Aims and areas of interest
  • To combine novel multispectral transgenic mouse technologies with advanced imaging platforms to identify and characterise an endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) within a blood vessel wall niche.
  • To undertake lineage analysis in mice and humans, in health and disease, to visualise the clonal architecture of the blood vessel wall, and to evaluate the contribution of EPC to the turnover of vascular lineages in homeostasis and during regeneration.
  • Transcriptome profiling to define the molecular signature of human EPC and to highlight their therapeutic potential as a cell based therapy for cardiovascular repair and regeneration.

Human radial artery stained with markers to distinguish different vascular cell types.

Collaborators
  • Prof Andy Baker, BHF Centre for Vascular Regeneration, BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, UK.
  • Prof Nick Mills, BHF  Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Dr Paddy Hadoke, BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, UK