Fibronectin is key in stem cell therapy for wound healing and tissue repair

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What happens after you injure yourself? Wound healing is a complex process involving a number of controlled steps, each involving the appearance of a distinct cell type the function of which is regulated by a number of extracellular matrix proteins. Traditionally, the wound healing process has been divided into three main steps: inflammation, proliferation, and maturation and remodeling  (Yolanda et al., Stem Cell Research and Therapy, 2014, 4:1).

One the cellular side, after wounding, hematopoietic stem cells and, particularly, mesenchymal stem cells from the bone marrow migrate to the wound site, where they regulate cell proliferation by recruiting other cells and releasing growth factors and matrix proteins. The beneficial properties of MSCs on wound healing was observed in a number of animal models and in clinical cases and they are considered one of the most important components of the wound healing cascade. On the extracellular matrix protein side, after wounding fibronectin is part of the fibrin clot and distributed along fibrin strands.

Fibronectin’s role in this process is remarkable and critically important. During the proliferation phase, the crosstalk between fibronectin and platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)-β  controls the migration of mesenchymal stem cells. This is a fundamental determinant of cell migration and wound repair. This interaction between fibronectin and MSCs has been reported extensively in the literature (Veevers-Lowe, 2014, J Cell Sci, 124:1288-1300).

But it doesn’t stop here. Fibronectin is a key driver not only of the wound healing process in stem cell-driven tissue repair.

Fibronectin-gold nanoparticle-coated composite scaffolds in cardiovascular devices have also shown to favorably interact with mesenchymal stem cells and enhance MSC migration as well as protein expression (Hung et al, 2013, PLOS One). This importantly suggests that the FN-Au nanocomposites may significantly improve blood-contacting devices such as vascular grafts.

Fibronectin expression has also been linked to increased MSC lung adherence (Nystedt, 2013, Stem Cells, 31(2):317-326), which has implications in the development of infusion-driven delivery routes of MSCs for cell therapy.

These are just some examples – and this is by no means a comprehensive list – of the critical role fibronectin plays in the myriad interactions that regulate tissue repair.

Akron is a leading supplier of human plasma-derived fibronectin, and can assist with custom bioassay design and investigating fibronectin function in complex 3D scaffolds. Order your sample today. Contact us for information.

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