Circulating angiogenic stem cells in type 2 diabetes are associated with glycemic control and endothelial dysfunction

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa); Brain and Mind Institute


Circulating angiogenic cells (CACs) of various described phenotypes participate in the regeneration of the damaged endothelium, but the abundance of these cells is highly influenced by external cues including diabetes. It is not entirely clear which CAC populations are most reflective of endothelial function nor which are impacted by diabetes. To answer these questions, we enrolled a human cohort with variable CVD risk and determined relationships between stratified levels of CACs and indices of diabetes and vascular function. We also determined associations between CAC functional markers and diabetes and identified proangiogenic molecules which are impacted by diabetes. We found that subjects with low levels of CD34+ /AC133+ /CD31+ /CD45dim cells (CAC-3) had a significantly higher incidence of diabetes (p = 0.004), higher HbA1c levels (p = 0.049) and higher CVD risk scores. Furthermore, there was an association between low CAC-3 levels and impaired vascular function (p = 0.023). These cells from diabetics had reduced levels of CXCR4 and VEGFR2, while diabetics had higher levels of certain cytokines and pro-angiogenic molecules. These results suggest that quantitative and functional defects of CD34+ /AC133+ /CD31+ /CD45dim cells are associated with diabetes and vascular impairment and that this cell type may be a prognostic indicator of CVD and vascular dysfunction.

Publication (Name of Journal)

PloS one