Stromal Cell-Derived Factor-1α Promotes Endothelial Colony-Forming Cell Migration Through the Ca2+-Dependent Activation of the Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase 1/2 and Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase/AKT Pathways

Estella Zuccolo, Christian Di Buduo, Francesco Lodola, Stefania Orecchioni, Giorgia Scarpellino, Dlzar Ali Kheder, Valentina Poletto, Germano Guerra, Francesco Bertolini, Alessandra Balduini, Vittorio Rosti, Francesco Moccia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) drives endothelial colony-forming cell (ECFC) homing and incorporation within neovessels, thereby restoring tissue perfusion in ischemic tissues and favoring tumor vascularization and metastasis. SDF-1α stimulates ECFC migration by activating the Gi-protein-coupled receptor, CXCR4, and then engaging the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT signaling pathway. Sporadic evidence showed that SDF-1α may also act through an increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) in bone marrow-derived hematopoietic progenitor cells and fully differentiated endothelial cells. Of note, recent evidence demonstrated that intracellular Ca2+ signals play a key role in controlling the proangiogenic activity of ECFCs. The present investigation was, therefore, undertaken to assess whether and how SDF-1α induces ECFC motility by triggering intracellular Ca2+ signals. We found that SDF-1α caused a dose-dependent increase in [Ca2+]i that was inhibited by ADM3100, a selective CXCR4 antagonist. Pharmacological manipulation revealed that the Ca2+ response to [Ca2+]i was shaped by an initial intracellular Ca2+ release through inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (InsP3Rs), followed by a sustained phase of extracellular Ca2+ entry through store-operated Ca2+ channels. InsP3-dependent Ca2+ release and store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) were both necessary for SDF-1α-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK 1/2) and AKT phosphorylation. Finally, SDF-1α employed intracellular Ca2+ signals, ERK 1/2, and PI3K/AKT to promote ECFC migration in vitro and neovessel formation in vivo. These data, therefore, provide the first evidence that SDF-1α induces ECFC migration through the Ca2+-dependent activation of the ERK 1/2 and PI3K/AKT pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-34
Number of pages12
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018



  • calcium signaling
  • endothelial colony-forming cells
  • extracellular signal-regulated kinases
  • migration
  • phosphoinositide 3-kinase/AKT
  • stromal cell-derived factor-1α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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