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Pathophysiology. 2016 Sep;23(3):221-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pathophys.2016.07.001. Epub 2016 Jul 26.

Dynamics of early stem cell recruitment in skin flaps subjected to ischemia reperfusion injury.

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Department of Otolaryngology/HNS, LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA 71130, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Otolaryngology/HNS, LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA 71130, United States.



Bone marrow-derived stromal cell (BMSCs) therapy improves survival of skin flaps subject to ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. However, very little is known about the trafficking and distribution of BMSCs in post-ischemic skin tissue following intravenous administration. The aim of this study was to assess the behavior of BMSCs in post-ischemic skin flaps and to compare the magnitude and kinetics of accumulation of BMSCs and leukocytes following I/R.


Cutaneous flaps perfused by the inferior epigastric vessels were created in C57Bl6 mice. The flaps were subjected to 3.5h of ischemia followed by reperfusion. Wound healing and vascular perfusion were assessed in 3 groups of mice (sham, I/R, and I/R+BMSCs treatment) on days 3, 5, 7 and 14 post-reperfusion. The kinetics and magnitude of BMSCs and leukocyte recruitment were quantified in additional 2 groups (Sham and I/R) after I/R using intravital fluorescence microscopy at 2 and 4h after the intravenous injection of fluorescently labeled BMSCs.


Wound healing after I/R was significantly enhanced in skin flaps of mice treated with BMSCs, compared to controls. The rolling velocity of BMSCs was higher compared to leukocytes both in control mice (32.4±3.7μm/s vs 24.0±2.2μm/s, p<0.05) and in I/R mice (34.6±3.8μm/s vs 20.2±2.3μm/s, p<0.005). However, the rolling velocity of both cell populations was not altered by I/R. The firm adhesion and transendothelial migration of BMSCs did not differ from the values detected for leukocytes for both control and I/R mice.


The magnitude and kinetics of BMSCs recruitment in skin flaps subjected to I/R are not significantly different from the responses noted for leukocytes, suggesting that similar mechanisms may be involved in the recruitment of both cell populations following I/R.


Intravital microscopy; Ischemia; Leukocyte; Skin flap; Stem cell; Wound healing

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