Animal experiments were in accord with the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals published and performed under protocols approved by the Animal Research Committee of Chongqing Medical University. Male and female C57BL/6J mice were purchased from the Laboratory Animal Center of the Chongqing Medical University and maintained under individually ventilated cages (IVC) condition. Tbx18: Cre knock-in mouse and R26REYFP: the Cre lineage reporter mouse were introduced from Evans laboratory and Jackson Laboratory, respectively, in January, 2010. Both the mouse lines were based on the C57BL/6J mice background. We crossed the Tbx18Cre mouse with the R26REYFP mouse and obtained Tbx18Cre/R26REYFP double heterozygous mouse [18]. Tbx18 is specifically expressed in EPCs in mouse hearts, which can be used to trace the fate of EPCs in Tbx18Cre/R26REYFP double heterozygous mouse.

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