Diabetes causes bone marrow autonomic neuropathy and impairs stem cell mobilization via dysregulated p66Shc and Sirt1

  1. Gian Paolo Fadini1,2
  1. 1 Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine, 35100 Padova, Italy.
  2. 2 Department of Medicine, University of Padova, 35100 Padova, Italy
  3. 3 Laboratory Vascular Hematology / Angiogenesis, Institute for Transfusion Medicine, Goethe University Frankfurt, 60528 Frankfurt, Germany.
  4. 4 European Institute of Oncology, IFOM-IEO Campus, 20139 Milan, Italy.
  1. Corresponding author: Gian Paolo Fadini, Email: gianpaolofadini{at}; gianpaolo.fadini{at}


Diabetes compromises the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment and reduces circulating CD34+ cells. Diabetic autonomic neuropathy (DAN) may impact the BM, because the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is prominently involved in BM stem cell trafficking. We hypothesize that neuropathy of the BM affects stem cell mobilization and vascular recovery after ischemia in diabetes. We report that, in patients, cardiovascular DAN was associated with fewer circulating CD34+ cells. Experimental diabetes (STZ and Ob/Ob) or chemical sympathectomy in mice resulted in BM autonomic neuropathy, impaired Lin-cKit+Sca1+ (LKS) cell and endothelial progenitor cells (EPC, CD34+Flk1+) mobilization and vascular recovery after ischemia. DAN increased expression of p66Shc and reduced expression of Sirt1 in mice and humans. p66Shc KO in diabetic mice prevented DAN in the BM, and rescued defective LKS cell and EPC mobilization. Hematopoietic Sirt1 KO mimicked the diabetic mobilization defect, while hematopoietic Sirt1 overexpression in diabetes rescued defective mobilization and vascular repair. Through p66Shc and Sirt1, diabetes and sympathectomy elevated the expression of various adhesion molecules, including CD62L. CD62L KO partially rescued the defective stem/progenitor cell mobilization. In conclusion, autonomic neuropathy in the BM impairs stem cell mobilization in diabetes with dysregulation of the lifespan regulators p66Shc and Sirt1.

  • Received June 7, 2013.
  • Accepted November 14, 2013.

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