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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 561098, 15 pages
Review Article

Enhancing the Migration Ability of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells by Targeting the SDF-1/CXCR4 Axis

1Canadian Blood Services, Research and Development, Edmonton, AB, Canada
2Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, CBS Building, 8249-114 Street NW, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2R8

Received 16 August 2013; Revised 9 October 2013; Accepted 28 October 2013

Academic Editor: Ulrich Kneser

Copyright © 2013 Leah A. Marquez-Curtis and Anna Janowska-Wieczorek. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are currently being investigated in numerous clinical trials of tissue repair and various immunological disorders based on their ability to secrete trophic factors and to modulate inflammatory responses. MSCs have been shown to migrate to sites of injury and inflammation in response to soluble mediators including the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-(SDF-)1, but during in vitro culture expansion MSCs lose surface expression of key homing receptors particularly of the SDF-1 receptor, CXCR4. Here we review studies on enhancement of SDF-1-directed migration of MSCs with the premise that their improved recruitment could translate to therapeutic benefits. We describe our studies on approaches to increase the CXCR4 expression in in vitro-expanded cord blood-derived MSCs, namely, transfection, using the commercial liposomal reagent IBAfect, chemical treatment with the histone deacetylase inhibitor valproic acid, and exposure to recombinant complement component C1q. These methodologies will be presented in the context of other cell targeting and delivery strategies that exploit pathways involved in MSC migration. Taken together, these findings indicate that MSCs can be manipulated in vitro to enhance their in vivo recruitment and efficacy for tissue repair.