Author(s): Viswanathan A, Painter RG, Lanson NA Jr, Wang G
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Abstract Tissue injury enhances homing and engraftment of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). However, the mechanisms by which MSCs sense the signals released by injured tissues and migrate toward injury sites have not been fully defined. In the current report, we investigated whether human MSCs express the N-formyl peptide receptor (FPR) and the formyl peptide receptor-like-1 (FPRL1). These receptors bind to N-formylated peptides by which phagocytes migrate to inflammatory sites and fibroblasts repopulate wounds to remodel the damaged tissues. Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) demonstrated that MSCs express both FPR and FPRL1 at the transcriptional level. Flow cytometric analyses revealed expression of both receptors at the protein level. Fusion of the enhanced green fluorescence protein (eGFP) to the C terminus of each receptor showed localization to the cell surface. Moreover, MSCs responded to stimulation by N-formyl methionyl leucyl phenylalanine (fMLP), a prototypic N-formyl peptide, demonstrating rapid intracellular calcium mobilization that can be blocked by pertussis toxin or cyclosporin H. It is noteworthy that the fMLP-stimulated MSCs had an enhanced adhesion to extracellular matrix protein-coated surfaces. In addition, MSCs migrated toward gradients of increasing fMLP concentration, indicating that the receptors were functionally involved in positive chemotaxis to formylated peptides. Therefore, the N-formyl peptide receptors present in MSCs may play an important role in signaling stem cell adhesion, migration, and homing to injured and inflamed tissue for repair. Such a mechanism could potentially be exploited to direct the stem cells to target specific tissue sites, such as cystic fibrosis lungs, for therapy. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.
This article was published in Stem Cells
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy