Towards in situ tissue repair: Human mesenchymal stem cells express chemokine receptors CXCR1, CXCR2 and CCR2, and migrate upon stimulation with CXCL8 but not CCL2



The recruitment of bone marrow CD34 mesenchymal stem- and progenitor cells (MSC) and their subsequent differentiation into distinct tissues is the precondition for in situ tissue engineering. The objective of this study was to determine the entire chemokine receptor expression profile of human MSC and to investigate their chemotactic response to the selected chemokines CCL2, CXCL8 and CXCL12. Human MSC were isolated from iliac crest bone marrow aspirates and showed a homogeneous population presenting a typical MSC-related cell surface antigen profile (CD14, CD34, CD44+, CD45, CD166+, SH-2+). The expression profile of all 18 chemokine receptors was determined by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry. Both methods consistently demonstrated that MSC express CC, CXC, C and CX3C receptors. Gene expression and immunohistochemical analysis documented that MSC express chemokine receptors CCR2, CCR8, CXCR1, CXCR2 and CXCR3. A dose-dependent chemotactic activity of CXCR4 and CXCR1/CXCR2 ligands CXCL12 and CXCL8 (interleukin-8) was demonstrated using a 96-well chemotaxis assay. In contrast, the CCR2 ligand CCL2 (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, MCP-1) did not recruited human MSC. In conclusion, we report that the chemokine receptor expression profile of human MSC is much broader than known before. Furthermore, for the first time, we demonstrate that human MSC migrate upon stimulation with CXCL8 but not CCL2. In combination with already known data on MSC recruitment and differentiation these are promising results towards in situ regenerative medicine approaches based on guiding of MSC to sites of degenerated tissues. J. Cell. Biochem. 101: 135–146, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.