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Mol Med Rep. 2014 May;9(5):1575-82. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2014.2053. Epub 2014 Mar 14.

The SDF-1/CXCR4 axis regulates migration of transplanted bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells towards the pancreas in rats with acute pancreatitis.

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Department of General Surgery, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Tongji University of Medicine, Shanghai 200072, P.R. China.


Stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) and its receptor, CXC chemokine receptor-4 (CXCR4), are important regulators in the migration of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs). However, the mechanisms underlying this effect in acute pancreatitis (AP) have not been investigated. In this study, BMSCs were identified by specific cell surface markers and differentiation potentials, and labeled with chloromethylbenzamido-1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate (CM-Dil) for in vivo cell tracking. AP was induced by retrograde infusion of sodium taurocholate into the common bile duct in rats. The expression of SDF-1 in the injured pancreas was determined by immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis. BMSCs were incubated with or without anti-CXCR4 antibody and the contribution of SDF-1 to the migration of BMSCs was investigated. Our results demonstrated that the expression of SDF-1 was significantly increased in the injured pancreas, and that these levels peaked on days 5-7 and began to decrease on day 10. SDF-1 induced a dose-dependent migration of BMSCs in an in vitro transwell migration assay, which was almost completely blocked by AMD3100 (CXCR4-specific antagonist) or anti-CXCR4 antibody. In addition, by encouraging the migration of CM-Dil-labeled BMSCs, the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis facilitated the repair of the injured pancreas. This effect was inhibited by the anti-CXCR4 antibody. Taken together, these results indicate that the interaction of locally produced SDF-1 with CXCR4 on BMSCs, has an important regulatory role in the migration of BMSCs towards the injured pancreas in AP.

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