There is a need for comparative studies to determine which cell types are better candidates to remedy ischemia. Here, we compared human AC133(+) cells and multipotent adult progenitor cells (hMAPC) in a mouse model reminiscent of critical limb ischemia. hMAPC or hAC133(+) cell transplantation induced a significant improvement in tissue perfusion (measured by microPET) 15 days posttransplantation compared to controls. This improvement persisted for 30 days in hMAPC-treated but not in hAC133(+)-injected animals. While transplantation of hAC133(+) cells promoted capillary growth, hMAPC transplantation also induced collateral expansion, decreased muscle necrosis/fibrosis, and improved muscle regeneration. Incorporation of differentiated MC 133(+) or hMAPC progeny into new vessels was limited; however, a paracrine angio/arteriogenic effect was demonstrated in animals treated with hMAPC. Accordingly, hMAPC-conditioned, but not hAC133(+)-conditioned, media stimulated vascular cell proliferation and prevented myoblast, endothelial, and smooth muscle cell apoptosis in vitro. Our study suggests that although hAC133(+) cell and hMAPC transplantation both contribute to vascular regeneration in ischemic limbs, hMAPC exert a more robust effect through trophic mechanisms, which translated into collateral and muscle fiber regeneration. This, in turn, conferred tissue protection and regeneration with longer term functional improvement.