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Blood. 2004 Nov 1;104(9):2643-5. Epub 2004 Jul 13.

A small proportion of mesenchymal stem cells strongly expresses functionally active CXCR4 receptor capable of promoting migration to bone marrow.

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Stem Cell Research Group and Willink Biochemical Genetics Unit, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Manchester, United Kingdom.


Homing of bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs) to bone and bone marrow after transplantation, important for the correction of conditions such as metabolic storage disorders, can occur but with poor efficiency. Substantial improvements in engraftment will be required in order to derive a clinical benefit from MSC transplantation. Chemokines are the most important factors controlling cellular migration. Stromal-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) has been shown to be critical in promoting the migration of cells to the bone marrow, via its specific receptor CXCR4. The aim of our study was to investigate CXCR4 expression on MSCs and its role in mediating migration to bone marrow. We show that CXCR4, although present at the surface of a small subset of MSCs, is important for mediating specific migration of these cells to bone marrow.

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