Characteristics of circulating CD31+ cells from patients with coronary artery disease

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Abstract
Recently, we reported the properties of CD31-expressing cells in healthy individuals. However, the characteristics of CD31-expressing cells derived from coronary artery disease (CAD) patients remain unknown. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between circulating CD31+ cells and CAD as well as their biological characteristics. Analysis with flow cytometry revealed that CD31+ cells (C-CD31) from the peripheral blood (PB) of CAD patients exhibited low levels of T-cell marker and high levels of macrophage marker compared with the PB-CD31+ cells from healthy individuals (H-CD31). In addition, the expression levels of multiple pro-angiogenic and chemokine genes were significantly down-regulated in C-CD31. However, inflammatory gene IL-1α was highly up-regulated in C-CD31. Patients with unstable angina (UA) had significantly more CD31+ cells in the PB than healthy control group (P < 0.001). Moreover, there were significant correlations between the number of CD31+ cells and cardiovascular (CV) disease activity (R = 0.318, P = 0.006) and the number of diseased coronaries (R = 0.312, P = 0.005). For the diagnostic category of UA, the area under curve was 0.803 (P < 0.001). In conclusion, C-CD31 have impaired angiogenic potential and the number of circulating CD31+ cells were correlated with CV risk. These findings may contribute to the understanding of the pathogenesis of CAD.