Supplementary Material for: Injection of hTERT-Transduced Endothelial Progenitor Cells Promotes Beneficial Aortic Changes in a High-Fat Dietary Model of Early Atherosclerosis

<i>Objectives:</i> Cultured endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) display troubling issues that adversely affect their applicability to endothelial regeneration. We hypothesized that transduction of the human telomerase catalytic subunit (hTERT) gene would enhance EPC function in treating dietary-induced early atherosclerosis (AS). <i>Methods:</i> A dietary-induced early AS model was successfully constructed in 90 healthy male rats, while 30 healthy control (HC) rats were normally fed. Four experimental groups were constructed: an untreated HC group; an untreated AS group injected with PBS; a null EPC AS group injected with null vector-transduced EPCs, and an hTERT EPC AS group injected with hTERT-transduced EPCs. Two months postinjection, abdominal aortas were extracted to validate EPC integration and comparatively assess mRNA and protein expression of the early atherosclerotic markers VCAM-1, ICAM-1, LFA-1, Mac-1, CD44, MCP-1, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), and apolipoprotein E. <i>Results:</i> In vitro, hTERT transduction of EPCs resulted in a significantly superior proliferative capacity as well as significantly higher NO, iNOS, and LDH secretory capacity. In vivo injection of hTERT-transduced EPCs produced significant reductions in CD44 and MCP-1 expression as well as a significant increase in eNOS expression relative to injection with null vector-transduced EPCs (all p < 0.05). <i>Conclusion:</i>hTERT-transduced human EPCs may be useful in treating dietary-induced early AS.