Background: Endothelial Progenitor Cells [EPCs] are involved in the regeneration of the endothelial lining following blood vessel injury. The reduction in the number of EPCs was postulated to be associated with the initiation and progression of cardiovascular disease.
Objectives: This study aimed at exploration of the number of EPCs in obese nondiabetic children and adolescents and their relation to fasting lipid levels, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, Homeostasis Model Assessment for Insulin Resistance [HOMAIR], Carotid Intima Media Thickness [CIMT], echocardiography as well as parameters of cardiac dysfunction on tissue Doppler imaging.
Methods: 56 children and adolescents 5-15 years were selected randomly from patients seeking medical advice for obesity management at the Obesity Clinic of the Paediatrics Hospital, Ain Shams University together with 36 age and sex matched controls. All underwent anthropometric evaluation, measurement of fasting lipids, glucose, insulin, HOMA-IR, CIMT, echocardiography and tissue Doppler imaging. EPCs, by flow cytometry, are the cells expressing positivity for CD34 and CD144.
Results: EPCs were significantly lower in patients compared to controls [p=0.00]. A ROC curve revealed a sensitivity and specificity each of 100% for the value of positivity ≤ 85 EPCs per million white blood cells. EPCs showed negative correlation with the left ventricular end diastolic diameter which is a known complication of obesity.
Conclusion: Impaired endothelial regeneration and the risk of atherosclerosis is incurred by obesity regardless of the state of dyslipidaemia and insulin resistance.