Circulating CD34+ progenitor cell frequency is associated with clinical and genetic factors

Kenneth S. Cohen, Susan Cheng, Martin G. Larson, L. Adrienne Cupples, Elizabeth L. McCabe, Ying A. Wang, Julius S. Ngwa, Roderick P. Martin, Rachael J. Klein, Basma Hashmi, Yin Ge, Christopher J. O'Donnell, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Stanley Y. Shaw, Thomas J. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Circulating blood CD34+ cells consist of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, angiogenic cells, and endothelial cells. In addition to their clinical use in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, CD34+ cells may also promote therapeutic neovascularization. Therefore, understanding the factors that influence circulating CD34+ cell frequency has wide implications for vascular biology in addition to stem cell transplantation. In the present study, we examined the clinical and genetic characteristics associated with circulating CD34+ cell frequency in a large, community-based sample of 1786 Framing-ham Heart Study participants. Among subjects without cardiovascular disease (n = 1595), CD34+ frequency was inversely related to older age, female sex, and smoking. CD34+ frequency was positively related to weight, serum total cholesterol, and statin therapy. Clinical covariates accounted for 6.3% of CD34+ variability. CD34+ frequency was highly heritable (h2 = 54%; P <.0001). Genome-wide association analysis of CD34+ frequency identified suggestive associations at several loci, including OR4C12 (chromosome 11; P= 6.7 × 10-7) and ENO1 and RERE (chromosome 1; P= 8.8 × 10-7). CD34+ cell frequency is reduced in older subjects and is influenced by environmental factors including smoking and statin use. CD34+ frequency is highly heritable. The results of the present study have implications for therapies that use CD34+ cell populations and support efforts to better understand the genetic mechanisms that underlie CD34+ frequency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e50-e56
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 21 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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