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Stem Cells Dev. 2011 Jan;20(1):19-30. doi: 10.1089/scd.2010.0118. Epub 2010 Oct 25.

Hyaluronic acid and thrombin upregulate MT1-MMP through PI3K and Rac-1 signaling and prime the homing-related responses of cord blood hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells.

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Canadian Blood Services R&D, Edmonton, Canada.


One of the hurdles of cord blood (CB) transplantation is delayed hematopoietic engraftment. Previously, we demonstrated that supernatants isolated from leukapheresis products of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF)-mobilized patients primed the homing of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPC) by enhancing their chemotactic responses to stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1 and stimulating matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) MMP-2 and MMP-9. Since membrane type 1 (MT1)-MMP activates proMMP-2 and localizes proteolytic activity at the leading edge of migrating cells, in this study we investigated whether MT1-MMP contributes to the priming of the homing-related responses of CB HSPC. We found that components of supernatants of leukapheresis products such as hyaluronic acid and thrombin (i) increase the secretion of proMMP-9 and transcription and protein synthesis of MT1-MMP in CB CD34(+) cells; (ii) increase the levels of active MMP-2 in co-cultures of CD34(+) cells with endothelial cells; (iii) increase the chemoinvasion across reconstituted basement membrane Matrigel of CD34(+) cells toward a low SDF-1 gradient (20 ng/mL); and (iv) activate mitogen-activated protein kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and Rac-1 signaling pathways. Inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and Rac-1 by their respective inhibitors LY290042 and NSC23766 attenuated MT1-MMP expression in CB CD34(+) cells, leading to reduced proMMP-2 activation and HSPC trans-Matrigel chemoinvasion toward SDF-1. Thus, our data suggest that MT1-MMP plays an important role in the homing-related responses of HSPC, and we propose that pretreatment of CB HSPC with hyaluronic acid or thrombin before transplantation could improve their homing and engraftment.

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