Myoendothelial differentiation of human umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells in ischemic limb tissues.

Maurizio Pesce, Alessia Orlandi, Maria Grazia Iachininoto, Stefania Straino, Anna Rita Torella, Vania Rizzuti, Giulio Pompilio, Giuseppina Bonanno, Giovanni Scambia, Maurizio C. Capogrossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human umbilical cord blood (UCB) contains high numbers of endothelial progenitors cells (EPCs) characterized by coexpression of CD34 and CD133 markers. Prior studies have shown that CD34+/CD133+ EPCs from the cord or peripheral blood (PB) can give rise to endothelial cells and induce angiogenesis in ischemic tissues. In the present study, it is shown that freshly isolated human cord blood CD34+ cells injected into ischemic adductor muscles gave rise to endothelial and, unexpectedly, to skeletal muscle cells in mice. In fact, the treated limbs exhibited enhanced arteriole length density and regenerating muscle fiber density. Under similar experimental conditions, CD34- cells did not enhance the formation of new arterioles and regenerating muscle fibers. In nonischemic limbs CD34+ cells increased arteriole length density but did not promote formation of new muscle fibers. Endothelial and myogenic differentiation ability was maintained in CD34+ cells after ex vivo expansion. Myogenic conversion of human cord blood CD34+ cells was also observed in vitro by coculture onto mouse myoblasts. These results show that human cord blood CD34+ cells differentiate into endothelial and skeletal muscle cells, thus providing an indication of human EPCs plasticity. The full text of this article is available online at

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e51-62
JournalCirculation research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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