Decreased Circulating Progenitor Cell Number and Failed Mechanisms of Stromal Cell-Derived Factor-1α Mediated Bone Marrow Mobilization Impair Diabetic Tissue Repair

  1. Stephen M. Warren1
  1. 1New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York;
  2. 2Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut;
  3. 3Tokai University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.
  1. Corresponding author: Stephen M. Warren,{at}


OBJECTIVE Progenitor cells (PCs) contribute to postnatal neovascularization and tissue repair. Here, we explore the mechanism contributing to decreased diabetic circulating PC number and propose a novel treatment to restore circulating PC number, peripheral neovascularization, and tissue healing.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Cutaneous wounds were created on wild-type (C57BL/J6) and diabetic (Leprdb/db) mice. Blood and bone marrow PCs were collected at multiple time points.

RESULTS Significantly delayed wound closure in diabetic animals was associated with diminished circulating PC number (1.9-fold increase vs. 7.6-fold increase in lin/sca-1+/ckit+ in wild-type mice; P < 0.01), despite adequate numbers of PCs in the bone marrow at baseline (14.4 ± 3.2% lin/ckit+/sca1+ vs. 13.5 ± 2.8% in wild-type). Normal bone marrow PC mobilization in response to peripheral wounding occurred after a necessary switch in bone marrow stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) expression (40% reduction, P < 0.01). In contrast, a failed switch mechanism in diabetic bone marrow SDF-1α expression (2.8% reduction) resulted in impaired PC mobilization. Restoring the bone marrow SDF-1α switch (54% reduction, P < 0.01) with plerixafor (Mozobil, formerly known as AMD3100) increased circulating diabetic PC numbers (6.8 ± 2.0-fold increase in lin/ckit+, P < 0.05) and significantly improved diabetic wound closure compared with sham-treated controls (32.9 ± 5.0% vs. 11.9 ± 3% at day 7, P > 0.05; 73.0 ± 6.4% vs. 36.5 ± 7% at day 14, P < 0.05; and 88.0 ± 5.7% vs. 66.7 ± 5% at day 21, P > 0.05, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS Successful ischemia-induced bone marrow PC mobilization is mediated by a switch in bone marrow SDF-1α levels. In diabetes, this switch fails to occur. Plerixafor represents a potential therapeutic agent for improving ischemia-mediated pathology associated with diabetes by reducing bone marrow SDF-1α, restoring normal PC mobilization and tissue healing.


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  1. Diabetes vol. 59 no. 8 1974-1983
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