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Open AccessArticle

Monocytes as Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs), Another Brick in the Wall to Disentangle Tumor Angiogenesis

CEDOC, Chronic Diseases Research Centre, NOVA Medical School|Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Campo dos Mártires da Pátria, 130, 1169-056 Lisboa, Portugal
Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa Francisco Gentil (IPOLFG), Rua Prof. Lima Basto 1099-023 Lisboa, Portugal
Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica, Avenida da República, Estação Agronómica, 2780-157 Oeiras, Portugal
Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica António Xavier, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Av. da República, 2780-157 Oeiras, Portugal
Hospital da Luz, Av. Lusíada 100, 1500-650 Lisboa, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cells 2020, 9(1), 107;
Received: 4 November 2019 / Revised: 22 December 2019 / Accepted: 30 December 2019 / Published: 1 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Angiogenesis in Cancer)
Bone marrow contains endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) that, upon pro-angiogenic stimuli, migrate and differentiate into endothelial cells (ECs) and contribute to re-endothelialization and neo-vascularization. There are currently no reliable markers to characterize EPCs, leading to their inaccurate identification. In the past, we showed that, in a panel of tumors, some cells on the vessel wall co-expressed CD14 (monocytic marker) and CD31 (EC marker), indicating a putative differentiation route of monocytes into ECs. Herein, we disclosed monocytes as potential EPCs, using in vitro and in vivo models, and also addressed the cancer context. Monocytes acquired the capacity to express ECs markers and were able to be incorporated into blood vessels, contributing to cancer progression, by being incorporated in tumor neo-vasculature. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) push monocytes to EC differentiation, and this phenotype is reverted by cysteine (a scavenger and precursor of glutathione), which indicates that angiogenesis is controlled by the interplay between the oxidative stress and the scavenging capacity of the tumor microenvironment. View Full-Text
Keywords: monocytes; endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs); endothelial cells (ECs); angiogenesis; cancer monocytes; endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs); endothelial cells (ECs); angiogenesis; cancer
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Lopes-Coelho, F.; Silva, F.; Gouveia-Fernandes, S.; Martins, C.; Lopes, N.; Domingues, G.; Brito, C.; Almeida, A.M.; Pereira, S.A.; Serpa, J. Monocytes as Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs), Another Brick in the Wall to Disentangle Tumor Angiogenesis. Cells 2020, 9, 107.

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