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INTRODUCTION: Renal disease affects over 500 million people worldwide and is set to increase as treatment options are predominately supportive. Evidence suggests that exogenous haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) can be of benefit but due to the rarity and poor homing of these cells, benefits are either minor or transitory. Mechanisms governing HSC recruitment to injured renal microcirculation are poorly understood; therefore this study determined (i) the adhesion molecules responsible for HSC recruitment to the injured kidney, (ii) if cytokine HSC pre-treatment can enhance their homing and (iii) the molecular mechanisms accountable for any enhancement.
METHODS: Adherent and free-flowing HSCs were determined in an intravital murine model of renal ischaemia-reperfusion injury. Some HSCs and animals were pre-treated prior to HSC infusion with function blocking antibodies, hyaluronidase or cytokines. Changes in surface expression and clustering of HSC adhesion molecules were determined using flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. HSC adhesion to endothelial counter-ligands (VCAM-1, hyaluronan) was determined using static adhesion assays in vitro.
RESULTS: CD49d, CD44, VCAM-1 and hyaluronan governed HSC adhesion to the IR-injured kidney. Both KC and SDF-1α pre-treatment strategies significantly increased HSC adhesion within injured kidney, whilst SDF-1α also increased numbers continuing to circulate. SDF-1α and KC did not increase CD49d or CD44 expression but increased HSC adhesion to VCAM-1 and hyaluronan respectively. SDF-1α increased CD49d surface clustering, as well as HSC deformability.
CONCLUSION: Increasing HSC adhesive capacity for its endothelial counter-ligands, potentially through surface clustering, may explain their enhanced renal retention in vivo. Furthermore, increasing HSC deformability through SDF-1α treatment could explain the prolonged systemic circulation; the HSC can therefore continue to survey the damaged tissue instead of becoming entrapped within non-injured sites. Therefore manipulating these mechanisms of HSC recruitment outlined may improve the clinical outcome of cellular therapies for kidney disease.
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