Very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs) are major pluripotent stem cells defined as cells of small size being Lineage- negative, CD133-positive, and CD45-negative. We previously described that human bone marrow VSELs were able to differentiate into endothelial cells and promoted post-ischemic revascularization in mice with surgically induced critical limb ischemia. In the present work, we isolated bone marrow VSELs from patients with critical limb ischemia and studied their ability to support endothelial progenitor cells therapeutic capacity and revascularization potential. Sorted bone marrow VSELs cultured in angiogenic media were co-injected with endothelial progenitor cells and have been show to trigger post-ischemic revascularization in immunodeficient mice, and support vessel formation in vivo in Matrigel implants better than human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. In conclusion, VSELs are a potential new source of therapeutic cells that may give rise to cells of the endothelial and perivascular lineage in humans. VSELs are the first real vasculogenic stem cells able to differentiate in endothelial and perivascular lineage in human adult described from now. Thus, because VSELs presence have been proposed in adult tissues, we think that VSELs are CD45 negative stem cells able to give rise to vascular regeneration in human tissues and vessels.
- Endothelial progenitor cells
- Perivascular cells
- Very small embryonic like cells