Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be isolated from many tissue types and following in vitro culture expansion, large numbers of patient-specific or allogenic cells can be produced for clinical applications. MSCs exhibit anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties and are identified as lacking major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules. Cellular-based approaches using MSCs to enhance new blood vessel formation have shown promise in preclinical models and preliminary clinical trials. Transplantation of MSCs in vivo has significantly enhanced the formation of new blood vessels and promoted the healing of chronic wounds. The proangiogenic potential of MSCs can be further enhanced through gene delivery such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) or endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) providing long-term therapeutic expression. In this chapter, we review recent advances on the isolation and characterization of MSCs and in vivo applications for promoting angiogenesis. Enhancement of angiogenesis is also required for improved healing in myocardial infarction and cerebral ischemia, and the use of MSCs in these areas will also be reviewed. Furthermore, the combination of MSCs with biomaterials has greatly improved their survival and potency with improved vascularization of tissue-engineered constructs and integration within the host. In summary, this chapter provides an overview of both the basic science supporting the proangiogenic properties of MSCs and their translational use.
Part of the book: Mesenchymal Stem Cells