• Adipose-derived stem cells;
  • Hepatocyte growth factor;
  • Fibroblast growth factor-2;
  • c-Jun N-terminal kinase;
  • Fibrogenesis;
  • Ischemia-reperfusion injury


Adipose-derived stem/stromal cells (ASCs) not only function as tissue-specific progenitor cells but also are multipotent and secrete angiogenic growth factors, such as hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), under certain circumstances. However, the biological role and regulatory mechanism of this secretion have not been well studied. We focused on the role of ASCs in the process of adipose tissue injury and repair and found that among injury-associated growth factors, fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) strongly promoted ASC proliferation and HGF secretion through a c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway. In a mouse model of ischemia-reperfusion injury of adipose tissue, regenerative changes following necrotic and apoptotic changes were seen for 2 weeks. Acute release of FGF-2 by injured adipose tissue was followed by upregulation of HGF. During the adipose tissue remodeling process, adipose-derived 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine-positive cells were shown to be ASCs (CD31−CD34+). Inhibition of JNK signaling inhibited the activation of ASCs and delayed the remodeling process. In addition, inhibition of FGF-2 or JNK signaling prevented postinjury upregulation of HGF and led to increased fibrogenesis in the injured adipose tissue. Increased fibrogenesis also followed the administration of a neutralizing antibody against HGF. FGF-2 released from injured tissue acts through a JNK signaling pathway to stimulate ASCs to proliferate and secrete HGF, contributing to the regeneration of adipose tissue and suppression of fibrogenesis after injury. This study revealed a functional role for ASCs in the response to injury and provides new insight into the therapeutic potential of ASCs. STEM CELLS2009;27:238–249