Endothelial progenitor cells stimulate cerebrovascular production of prostacyclin by paracrine activation of cyclooxygenase-2

Anantha Vijay R. Santhanam, Leslie A. Smith, Tongrong He, Karl A. Nath, Zvonimir S. Katusic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


In the present study we hypothesized that endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) enhance production of vasoprotective substances in cerebral arteries. Isolated mononuclear cells from rabbit peripheral blood were cultured in endothelial growth medium (EGM-2) for 7 days to yield EPCs. Rabbit basilar arteries were exposed to autologous EPCs (≈5×10 cells) in vitro or in vivo. Twenty-four hours after intracisternal delivery of autologous EPCs, basilar arteries were isolated and expression of vasoregulatory proteins, production of prostacyclin (PGI2), and cAMP were determined. Arteries transplanted with EPCs demonstrated increased protein expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and PGI2 in adventitia, media, and endothelium. Furthermore, production of PGI2 and arterial content of cAMP, second messenger for PGI2, were significantly augmented after transplantation of EPCs. In contrast, production of thromboxane A2 was significantly reduced, whereas production of prostaglandin E2 remained unchanged. The increased production of PGI2 and arterial content of cAMP were inhibited only by a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, NS-398. In vitro or in vivo treatment of basilar artery with conditioned media from EPCs also caused increase in cyclooxygenase-2 and PGI2 synthase protein expression associated with elevation of cAMP. Our results suggest that in cerebral arteries, paracrine effect of EPCs promotes vasoprotection by increasing PGI2 production and intracellular concentration of cAMP. This effect appears to be mediated by activation of arachidonic acid metabolism via stimulation of cyclooxygenase-2/PGI2 synthase pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1379-1388
Number of pages10
JournalCirculation research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2007


  • COX-2 inhibitors
  • Cell therapy
  • Cerebral vasospasm
  • PGI synthase
  • Vasodilatation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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