The mobilization and effect of endogenous bone marrow progenitor cells in diabetic wound healing

Paolo Fiorina, Giorgio Pietramaggiori, Saja S. Scherer, Mollie Jurewicz, Jasmine C. Mathews, Andrea Vergani, Gebhard Thomas, Elena Orsenigo, Carlo Staudacher, Stefano La Rosa, Carlo Capella, Adelaide Carothers, Hans Gunter Zerwes, Livio Luzi, Reza Abdi, Dennis P. Orgill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diabetic patients suffer from impaired wound healing, characterized by only modest angiogenesis and cell proliferation. Stem cells may stimulate healing, but little is known about the kinetics of mobilization and function of bone marrow progenitor cells (BM-PCs) during diabetic wound repair. The objective of this study was to investigate the kinetics of BM-PC mobilization and their role during early diabetic wound repair in diabetic db/db mice. After wounding, circulating hematopoietic stem cells (Lin-c-Kit+Sca-1 +) stably increased in the periphery and lymphoid tissue of db/db mice compared to unwounded controls. Peripheral endothelial progenitor cells (CD34+VEGFR+) were 2.5- and 3.5-fold increased on days 6 and 10 after wounding, respectively. Targeting the CXCR4-CXCL12 axis induced an increased release and engraftment of endogenous BM-PCs that was paralleled by an increased expression of CXCL12/SDF-1α in the wounds. Increased levels of peripheral and engrafted BM-PCs corresponded to stimulated angiogenesis and cell proliferation, while the addition of an agonist (GM-CSF) or an antagonist (ACK2) did not further modulate wound healing. Macroscopic histological correlations showed that increased levels of stem cells corresponded to higher levels of wound reepithelialization. After wounding, a natural release of endogenous BMPCs was shown in diabetic mice, but only low levels of these cells homed in the healing tissue. Higher levels of CXCL12/SDF-1α and circulating stem cells were required to enhance their engraftment and biological effects. Despite controversial data about the functional impairment of diabetic BM-PCs, in this model our data showed a residual capacity of these cells to trigger angiogenesis and cell proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1369-1381
Number of pages13
JournalCell Transplantation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Bone marrow progenitor cells (BM-PCs)
  • Cell proliferation
  • Diabetes
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation
  • Biomedical Engineering


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