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CD34+ progenitors are predictive of mortality and are associated with physical activity in cardiovascular disease patients

Muggeridge, David; Dodd, Jennifer; Ross, Mark D.



Background and aims
Circulating progenitor cells (CPCs) play an important role in vascular repair and can influence cardiovascular (CV) health and longevity. Exercise is known to modulate these cells via mobilization from the bone marrow. The primary aims of this study were to evaluate the association of CPCs with mortality and explore the association between physical activity (PA) and CPCs.

1751 individuals from the Framingham Offspring cohort (66 ± 9 years [40–92 years], 54% female) were included in the study. CPCs (CD34+, CD34+CD133+, CD34+CD133+KDR+) were measured by flow cytometry. Multivariable Cox regression analyses were performed to investigate relationship of CPCs with future CV event and mortality. Multivariate regression analyses were performed to determine the relationship between self-reported PA and CPC counts.

Following adjustment for standard risk factors, there was an inverse association between CD34+ CPCs and all-cause mortality (hazard ratio (HR) per unit increase in CD34+, 0.79; 95% CI 0.64–0.98, p = 0.036). CD34+CD133+ CPCs were inversely associated with CV mortality (HR 0.63, 95% CI 0.44–0.91, p = 0.013). Associations of CD34+ and CD34+CD133+ with mortality were strongest in participants with pre-existing CVD. PA was associated with CD34+ CPCs only in CVD participants (PA Index: β = 0.176, p = 0.003; moderate-to-vigorous [MVPA]: β = 0.159, p = 0.007). This relationship was maintained after adjustment for confounding variables.

A higher number of CD34+ and CD34+ CD133+ CPCs was inversely associated with all-cause and CV mortality. These associations were strongest in participants with CVD. PA is independently associated with CD34+ CPCs in individuals with CVD only, suggestive of greater benefit for this population group.


Muggeridge, D., Dodd, J., & Ross, M. D. (2021). CD34+ progenitors are predictive of mortality and are associated with physical activity in cardiovascular disease patients. Atherosclerosis, 333, 108-115.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 8, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 10, 2021
Publication Date 2021-09
Deposit Date Jul 12, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 11, 2022
Journal Atherosclerosis
Print ISSN 0021-9150
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 333
Pages 108-115
Keywords Endothelium, progenitor cells, physical activity, cardiovascular disease, mortality
Public URL


CD34+ Progenitors Are Predictive Of Mortality And Are Associated With Physical Activity In Cardiovascular Disease Patients Atherosclerosis (accepted version) (1.4 Mb)


Copyright Statement
Accepted version licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.

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