Two putative types of circulating endothelial progenitor cells have been recently identified in vitro: (1) endothelial colony-forming cell (ECFC) and (2) colony-forming unit-endothelial cell (CFU-EC). Only the former is now recognized to belong to endothelial lineage. We have used the ECFC and CFU-EC assays to readdress the issue of the clonal relation between endothelial progenitor cells and hematopoietic stem cells in patients with Philadelphia-positive and Philadelphia-negative chronic myeloproliferative disorders. Both ECFCs and CFUECs were cultured from peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and either BCR-ABL rearrangement or JAK2-V617F mutation were assessed in both types of endothelial colonies. We found that ECFCs lack the disease-specific markers, which are otherwise present in CFU-ECs, thus reinforcing the concept that the latter belongs to the hematopoietic lineage, and showing that in chronic myeloproliferative disorders the cell that gives rise to circulating ECFC has a distinct origin from the cell of the hematopoietic malignant clone. (Blood. 2009; 114: 3127-3130)
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