Stem Cells International
 Journal metrics
Acceptance rate44%
Submission to final decision76 days
Acceptance to publication35 days
CiteScore7.200
Impact Factor5.443

Article of the Year 2020

Paracrine Mechanisms of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells in Angiogenesis

Read the full article

 Journal profile

Stem Cells International publishes papers in all areas of stem cell biology and applications. The journal publishes basic, translational, and clinical research, including animal models and clinical trials.

 Editor spotlight

Chief Editor, Professor Li, has a background in cardiac stem cell transplantation, using young stem cells to promote tissue repair following injury to rejuvenate the aged individual, and the development of biomaterials that can easily integrate into damaged heart tissue.

 Special Issues

We currently have a number of Special Issues open for submission. Special Issues highlight emerging areas of research within a field, or provide a venue for a deeper investigation into an existing research area.

Latest Articles

More articles
Research Article

Vimentin-Rab7a Pathway Mediates the Migration of MSCs and Lead to Therapeutic Effects on ARDS

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is difficult to treat and has a high mortality rate. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have an important therapeutic effect in ARDS. While the mechanism of MSC migration to the lungs remains unclear, the role of MSCs is of great clinical significance. To this end, we constructed vimentin knockout mice, extracted bone MSCs from the mice, and used them for the treatment of LPS-induced ARDS. H&E staining and Masson staining of mouse lung tissue allowed us to assess the degree of damage and fibrosis of mouse lung tissue. By measuring serum TNF-α, TGF-β, and INF-γ, we were able to monitor the release of inflammatory factors. Finally, through immunoprecipitation and gene knockout experiments, we identified upstream molecules that regulate vimentin and elucidated the mechanism that mediates MSC migration. As a result, we found that MSCs from wild-type mice can significantly alleviate ARDS and reduce lung inflammation, while vimentin gene knockout reduced the therapeutic effect of MSCs in ARDS. Cytological experiments showed that vimentin gene knockout can significantly inhibit the migration of MSCs and showed that it changes the proliferation and differentiation status of MSCs. Further experiments found that vimentin’s regulation of MSC migration is mainly mediated by Rab7a. Rab7a knockout blocked the migration of MSCs and weakened the therapeutic effect of MSCs in ARDS. In conclusion, we have shown that the Vimentin-Rab7a pathway mediates migration of MSCs and leads to therapeutic effects in ARDS.

Review Article

Intervertebral Disc Stem/Progenitor Cells: A Promising “Seed” for Intervertebral Disc Regeneration

Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is considered to be the primary reason for low back pain (LBP), which has become more prevalent from 21 century, causing an enormous economic burden for society. However, in spite of remarkable improvements in the basic research of IVD degeneration (IVDD), the effects of clinical treatments of IVDD are still leaving much to be desired. Accumulating evidence has proposed the existence of endogenous stem/progenitor cells in the IVD that possess the ability of proliferation and differentiation. However, few studies have reported the biological properties and potential application of IVD progenitor cells in detail. Even so, these stem/progenitor cells have been consumed as a promising cell source for the regeneration of damaged IVD. In this review, we will first introduce IVD, describe its physiology and stem/progenitor cell niche, and characterize IVDSPCs between homeostasis and IVD degeneration. We will then summarize recent studies on endogenous IVDSPC-based IVD regeneration and exogenous cell-based therapy for IVDD. Finally, we will discuss the potential applications and future developments of IVDSPC-based repair of IVD degeneration.

Research Article

Pharmacological Preconditioning Improves the Viability and Proangiogenic Paracrine Function of Hydrogel-Encapsulated Mesenchymal Stromal Cells

The efficacy of cell therapy is limited by low retention and survival of transplanted cells in the target tissues. In this work, we hypothesize that pharmacological preconditioning with celastrol, a natural potent antioxidant, could improve the viability and functions of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) encapsulated within an injectable scaffold. Bone marrow MSCs from rat (rMSC) and human (hMSC) origin were preconditioned for 1 hour with celastrol 1 μM or vehicle (DMSO 0.1% v), then encapsulated within a chitosan-based thermosensitive hydrogel. Cell viability was compared by alamarBlue and live/dead assay. Paracrine function was studied first by quantifying the proangiogenic growth factors released, followed by assessing scratched HUVEC culture wound closure velocity and proliferation of HUVEC when cocultured with encapsulated hMSC. In vivo, the proangiogenic activity was studied by evaluating the neovessel density around the subcutaneously injected hydrogel after one week in rats. Preconditioning strongly enhanced the viability of rMSC and hMSC compared to vehicle-treated cells, with 90% and 75% survival versus 36% and 58% survival, respectively, after 7 days in complete media and 80% versus 64% survival for hMSC after 4 days in low serum media (). Celastrol-treated cells increased quantities of proangiogenic cytokines compared to vehicle-pretreated cells, with a significant 3.0-fold and 1.8-fold increase of VEGFa and SDF-1α, respectively (). The enhanced paracrine function of preconditioned MSC was demonstrated by accelerated growth and wound closure velocity of injured HUVEC monolayer () in vitro. Moreover, celastrol-treated cells, but not vehicle-treated cells, led to a significant increase of neovessel density in the peri-implant region after one week in vivo compared to the control (blank hydrogel). These results suggest that combining cell pretreatment with celastrol and encapsulation in hydrogel could potentiate MSC therapy for many diseases, benefiting particularly ischemic diseases.

Research Article

Comparison between Intra-Articular Injection of Infrapatellar Fat Pad (IPFP) Cell Concentrates and IPFP-Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) for Cartilage Defect Repair of the Knee Joint in Rabbits

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged as a promising therapeutic method in regenerative medicine. Our previous research adopted a simple nonenzymatic strategy for the preparation of a new type of ready-to-use infrapatellar fat pad (IPFP) cell concentrates. The aim of this study was to compare the therapeutic efficacy of intra-articular (IA) injection of autologous IPFP cell concentrates and allogeneic IPFP-MSCs obtained from these concentrates in a rabbit articular cartilage defect model. IPFP-MSCs sprouting from the IPFP cell concentrates were characterized via flow cytometry as well as based on their potential for differentiation into adipocytes, osteoblasts, and chondrocytes. In the rabbit model, cartilage defects were created on the trochlear groove, followed by treatment with IPFP cell concentrates, IPFP-MSCs, or normal saline IA injection. Distal femur samples were evaluated at 6 and 12 weeks posttreatment via macroscopic observation and histological assessment based on the International Cartilage Repair Society (ICRS) macroscopic scoring system as well as the ICRS visual histological assessment scale. The macroscopic score and histological score were significantly higher in the IPFP-MSC group compared to the IPFP cell concentrate group at 12 weeks. Further, both treatment groups had higher scores compared to the normal saline group. In comparison to the latter, the groups treated with IPFP-MSCs and IPFP cell concentrates showed considerably better cartilage regeneration. Overall, IPFP-MSCs represent an effective therapeutic strategy for stimulating articular cartilage regeneration. Further, due to the simple, cost-effective, nonenzymatic, and safe preparation process, IPFP cell concentrates may represent an effective alternative to stem cell-based therapy in the clinic.

Research Article

Development of a Human Intestinal Organoid Model for In Vitro Studies on Gut Inflammation and Fibrosis

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBDs) are characterized by chronic intestinal inflammation and fibrosis, the latter being the predominant denominator for long-term complications. Epithelial and mesenchymal 2D cultures are highly utilized in vitro models for the preclinical evaluation of anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic therapies. More recently, human intestinal organoids (HIOs), a new 3D in vitro model derived from pluripotent stem cells, have the advantage to closely resemble the architecture of the intestinal mucosa. However, the appropriate timing for the study of inflammatory and fibrotic responses, during HIO development, has not been adequately investigated. We developed HIOs from the human embryonic stem cell line, H1, and examined the expression of mesenchymal markers during their maturation process. We also investigated the effect of inflammatory stimuli on the expression of fibrotic and immunological mediators. Serial evaluation of the expression of mesenchymal and extracellular matrix (ECM) markers revealed that HIOs have an adequately developed mesenchymal component, which gradually declines through culture passages. Specifically, CD90, collagen type I, collagen type III, and fibronectin were highly expressed in early passages but gradually diminished in late passages. The proinflammatory cytokines IL-1α and TNF-α induced the mRNA expression of fibronectin, collagen types I and III, tissue factor (TF), and alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) primarily in early passages. Similarly, HIOs elicited strong mRNA and protein mesenchymal (CXCL10) and epithelial (CXCL1, CCL2, CXCL8, and CCL20) chemokine responses in early but not late passages. In contrast, the epithelial tight junction components, CLDN1 and JAMA, responded to inflammatory stimulation independently of the culture passage. Our findings indicate that this HIO model contains a functional mesenchymal component, during early passages, and underline the significance of the mesenchymal cells’ fitness in inflammatory and fibrotic responses. Therefore, we propose that this model is suitable for the study of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions in early passages when the mesenchymal component is active.

Review Article

The Effects of Mesenchymal Stem Cell on Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common malignant tumor of the gastrointestinal tract with nonobvious early symptoms and late symptoms of anemia, weight loss, and other systemic symptoms. Its morbidity and fatality rate are next only to gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, and primary liver cancer among digestive malignancies. In addition to the conventional surgical intervention, other therapies such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy and new treatment methods such as biologics and microbiological products have been introduced. As a promising cell therapy, mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) has attracted extensive research attention. MSCs are early undifferentiated pluripotent stem cells, which have the common features of stem cells, including self-replication, self-division, self-renewal, and multidirectional differentiation. MSCs come from a wide range of sources and can be extracted from a variety of tissues such as the bone marrow, umbilical cord, and fat. Current studies have shown that MSCs have a variety of biological functions such as immune regulation, tissue damage repair, and therapeutic effects on tumors such as CRC. This review outlines the overview of MSCs and CRC and summarizes the role of MSC application in CRC.

Stem Cells International
 Journal metrics
Acceptance rate44%
Submission to final decision76 days
Acceptance to publication35 days
CiteScore7.200
Impact Factor5.443
 Submit

Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2020, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.