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Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 18;8(1):1160. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-19417-8.

SDF1 gradient associates with the distribution of c-Kit+ cardiac cells in the heart.

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Research Unit of Biomedicine, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
Division of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Biocenter Oulu, Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Oulu Center for Cell-Matrix Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.


Identification of the adult cardiac stem cells (CSCs) has offered new therapeutic possibilities for treating ischemic myocardium. CSCs positive for the cell surface antigen c-Kit are known as the primary source for cardiac regeneration. Accumulating evidence shows that chemokines play important roles in stem cell homing. Here we investigated molecular targets to be utilized in modulating the mobility of endogenous CSCs. In a four week follow-up after experimental acute myocardial infarction (AMI) with ligation of the left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery of Sprague-Dawley rats c-Kit+ CSCs redistributed in the heart. The number of c-Kit+ CSCs in the atrial c-Kit niche was diminished, whereas increased amount was observed in the left ventricle and apex. This was associated with increased expression of stromal cell-derived factor 1 alpha (SDF1α), and a significant positive correlation was found between c-Kit+ CSCs and SDF1α expression in the heart. Moreover, the migratory capacity of isolated c-Kit+ CSCs was induced by SDF1 treatment in vitro. We conclude that upregulation of SDF1α after AMI associates with increased expression of endogenous c-Kit+ CSCs in the injury area, and show induced migration of c-Kit+ cells by SDF1.

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