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Tissue Eng Part A. 2011 Oct;17(19-20):2435-43. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2011.0036. Epub 2011 Jun 16.

Recruitment of progenitor cells by an extracellular matrix cryptic peptide in a mouse model of digit amputation.

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McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Biologic scaffolds composed of extracellular matrix (ECM) have been used successfully in preclinical models and humans for constructive remodeling of functional, site-appropriate tissue after injury. The mechanisms underlying ECM-mediated constructive remodeling are not completely understood, but scaffold degradation and site-directed recruitment of both differentiated and progenitor cells are thought to play critical roles. Previous studies have shown that degradation products of ECM scaffolds can recruit a population of progenitor cells both in vitro and in vivo. The present study identified a single cryptic peptide derived from the α subunit of the collagen III molecule that is chemotactic for a well-characterized perivascular stem cell in vitro and causes the site-directed accumulation of progenitor cells in vivo. The oligopeptide was additionally chemotactic for human cortical neural stem cells, rat adipocyte stem cells, C2C12 myoblast cells, and rat Schwann cells in vitro. In an adult murine model of digit amputation, treatment with this peptide after mid-second phalanx amputation resulted in a greater number of Sox2+ and Sca1+,Lin- cells at the site of injury compared to controls. Since progenitor cell activation and recruitment are key prerequisites for epimorphic regeneration in adult mammalian tissues, endogenous site-directed recruitment of such cells has the potential to alter the default wound healing response from scar tissue toward regeneration.

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