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Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Oct;28(20):6248-61. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00795-08. Epub 2008 Aug 18.

Lactate stimulates vasculogenic stem cells via the thioredoxin system and engages an autocrine activation loop involving hypoxia-inducible factor 1.

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Institute for Environmental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6068, USA.


The recruitment and differentiation of circulating stem/progenitor cells (SPCs) in subcutaneous Matrigel in mice was assessed. There were over one million CD34(+) SPCs per Matrigel plug 18 h after Matrigel implantation, and including a polymer to elevate the lactate concentration increased the number of SPCs by 3.6-fold. Intricate CD34(+) cell-lined channels were linked to the systemic circulation, and lactate accelerated cell differentiation as evaluated based on surface marker expression and cell cycle entry. CD34(+) SPCs from lactate-supplemented Matrigel exhibited significantly higher concentrations of thioredoxin 1 (Trx1) and hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) than cells from unsupplemented Matrigel, whereas Trx1 and HIF-1 in CD45(+) leukocytes were not elevated by lactate. Results obtained using small inhibitory RNA (siRNA) specific to HIF-1 and mice with conditionally HIF-1 null myeloid cells indicated that SPC recruitment and lactate-mediated effects were dependent on HIF-1. Cells from lactate-supplemented Matrigel had higher concentrations of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2, Trx1, Trx reductase (TrxR), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) than cells from unsupplemented Matrigel. SPC recruitment and protein changes were inhibited by siRNA specific to lactate dehydrogenase, TrxR, or HIF-1 and by oxamate, apocynin, U0126, N-acetylcysteine, dithioerythritol, and antibodies to VEGF or SDF-1. Oxidative stress from lactate metabolism by SPCs accelerated further SPC recruitment and differentiation through Trx1-mediated elevations in HIF-1 levels and the subsequent synthesis of HIF-1-dependent growth factors.

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