Severe skin loss constitutes a major unsolved clinical problem worldwide. For this reason, in the last decades there has been a major push towards the development of novel therapeutic approaches to enhance skin wound healing. Neo-vessel formation through angiogenesis is a critical step during the wound healing process. Besides the contribution of pre-existing endothelial cells (EC), endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have also been implicated in wound healing acting either by differentiating into EC that incorporate the neo-vessels, or via the production of paracrine factors that improve angiogenesis. Here we tested the importance of different extracellular matrices (ECM) in regulating the angiogenic and wound healing potential of cord blood-derived EPC (CB-EPC). We compared the properties of several ECM and particularly of fibrin fragment E (FbnE) in regulating EPC adhesion, proliferation, differentiation and healing-promotion in vitro and in vivo. Our results show that CB-EPCs have increased adhesion and endothelial differentiation when plated on FbnE compared to collagens, fibronectin or fibrin. Using integrin neutralizing antibodies, we show that CB-EPC adhesion to FbnE is mediated by integrin alpha 5 beta 1. Gene expression analysis of CB-EPCs plated on different substrates revealed that CB-EPC grown on FbnE shows increased expression of paracrine factors such as VEGF-A, TGF-beta 1, SDF-1, IL-8 and MIP-1 alpha. Accordingly, conditioned media from CB-EPC grown on FbnE induced EC tube formation and monocyte migration in vitro. To test the wound healing effects of FbnE in vivo we used an FbnE enriched scaffold in a cutaneous wound healing mouse model. In accordance with our in vitro data, co-administration of the FbnE enriched scaffold with CB-EPC significantly accelerated wound closure and wound vascularization, compared FbnE enriched scaffold alone or to using collagen-based scaffolds. Our results show that FbnE modulates several CB-EPC properties in vivo and in vitro, and as such promotes wound healing. We suggest the use of FbnE-based scaffolds represents a promising approach to resolve wound healing complications arising from different pathologies. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2011|