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Mechanisms Underlying Optimal CAC Function in Endurance-Trained Individuals
Studies suggest that the repair and maintenance of the vascular endothelium is critically dependent on circulating angiogenic cell (CAC) number and function. CACs accomplish their pro-angiogenic effects mainly through paracrine mechanisms. CACs have been used in autologous intra-coronary cell transplants to treat ischemic cardiovascular disease (CVD) and improve vascularization in humans but have been met with mixed results, possibly because lower functioning cells from a diseased patient are used to treat the same patient. Endurance exercise training increases CAC number and function.
The purpose of this project is to investigate the paracrine response of circulating angiogenic cells (CACs) from endurance-trained athletes as our model of “optimal” CAC function compared to CVD patients.
CACs from both groups will be studied in normal and atherogenic culture environments, and we will determine whether differences in CAC function between the two groups can be explained on a molecular level.