Stem Cells International
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Acceptance rate44%
Submission to final decision83 days
Acceptance to publication49 days
CiteScore3.800
Impact Factor3.902
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Soluble PTX3 of Human Umbilical Cord Blood-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Attenuates Hyperoxic Lung Injury by Activating Macrophage Polarization in Neonatal Rat Model

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 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.

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Research Article

Combining Innovative Bioink and Low Cell Density for the Production of 3D-Bioprinted Cartilage Substitutes: A Pilot Study

3D bioprinting offers interesting opportunities for 3D tissue printing by providing living cells with appropriate scaffolds with a dedicated structure. Biological advances in bioinks are currently promising for cell encapsulation, particularly that of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). We present herein the development of cartilage implants by 3D bioprinting that deliver MSCs encapsulated in an original bioink at low concentration. 3D-bioprinted constructs () were printed using alginate/gelatin/fibrinogen bioink mixed with human bone marrow MSCs. The influence of the bioprinting process and chondrogenic differentiation on MSC metabolism, gene profiles, and extracellular matrix (ECM) production at two different MSC concentrations (1 million or 2 million cells/mL) was assessed on day 28 (D28) by using MTT tests, real-time RT-PCR, and histology and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Then, the effect of the environment (growth factors such as TGF-β1/3 and/or BMP2 and oxygen tension) on chondrogenicity was evaluated at a 1 M cell/mL concentration on D28 and D56 by measuring mitochondrial activity, chondrogenic gene expression, and the quality of cartilaginous matrix synthesis. We confirmed the safety of bioextrusion and gelation at concentrations of 1 million and 2 million MSC/mL in terms of cellular metabolism. The chondrogenic effect of TGF-β1 was verified within the substitute on D28 by measuring chondrogenic gene expression and ECM synthesis (glycosaminoglycans and type II collagen) on D28. The 1 M concentration represented the best compromise. We then evaluated the influence of various environmental factors on the substitutes on D28 (differentiation) and D56 (synthesis). Chondrogenic gene expression was maximal on D28 under the influence of TGF-β1 or TGF-β3 either alone or in combination with BMP-2. Hypoxia suppressed the expression of hypertrophic and osteogenic genes. ECM synthesis was maximal on D56 for both glycosaminoglycans and type II collagen, particularly in the presence of a combination of TGF-β1 and BMP-2. Continuous hypoxia did not influence matrix synthesis but significantly reduced the appearance of microcalcifications within the extracellular matrix. The described strategy is very promising for 3D bioprinting by the bioextrusion of an original bioink containing a low concentration of MSCs followed by the culture of the substitutes in hypoxic conditions under the combined influence of TGF-β1 and BMP-2.

Research Article

c-Jun Overexpression Accelerates Wound Healing in Diabetic Rats by Human Umbilical Cord-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Objective. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are considered a promising therapy for wound healing. Here, we explored the role of c-Jun in diabetic wound healing using human umbilical cord-derived MSCs (hUC-MSCs). Methods. Freshly isolated hUC-MSCs were subjected to extensive in vitro subcultivation. The cell proliferative and migratory capacities were assessed by the Cell Counting Kit-8 and scratch assays, respectively. c-Jun expression was evaluated by RT-PCR and western blot analysis. The function of c-Jun was investigated with lentivirus transduction-based gene silencing and overexpression. Diabetes mellitus was induced in SD rats on a high-glucose/fat diet by streptozocin administration. Wounds were created on the dorsal skin. The effects of c-Jun silencing and overexpression on wound closure by hUC-MSCs were examined. Reepithelialization and angiogenesis were assessed by histological and immunohistochemical analysis, respectively. Platelet-derived growth factor A (PDGFA), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels were determined by western blot analysis. Results. hUC-MSCs showed gradually decreased cell proliferation, migration, and c-Jun expression during subcultivation. c-Jun silencing inhibited cell proliferation and migration, while c-Jun overexpression enhanced proliferation but not migration. Compared with untransduced hUC-MSCs, local subcutaneous injection of c-Jun-overexpressing hUC-MSCs accelerated wound closure, enhanced angiogenesis and reepithelialization at the wound bed, and increased PDGFA and HGF levels in wound tissues. Conclusion. c-Jun overexpression promoted hUC-MSC proliferation and migration in vitro and accelerated diabetic wound closure, reepithelization, and angiogenesis by hUC-MSCs in vivo. These beneficial effects of c-Jun overexpression in diabetic wound healing by hUC-MSCs were at least partially mediated by increased PDGFA and HGF levels in wound tissues.

Research Article

Human Fat-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Xenogenically Implanted in a Rat Model Show Enhanced New Bone Formation in Maxillary Alveolar Tooth Defects

Background. Due to restorative concerns, bone regenerative therapies have garnered much attention in the field of human oral/maxillofacial surgery. Current treatments using autologous and allogenic bone grafts suffer from inherent challenges, hence the ideal bone replacement therapy is yet to be found. Establishing a model by which MSCs can be placed in a clinically acceptable bone defect to promote bone healing will prove valuable to oral/maxillofacial surgeons. Methods. Human adipose tissue-derived MSCs were seeded onto Gelfoam® and their viability, proliferation, and osteogenic differentiation was evaluated in vitro. Subsequently, the construct was implanted in a rat maxillary alveolar bone defect to assess in vivo bone healing and regeneration. Results. Human MSCs were adhered, proliferated, and uniformly distributed, and underwent osteogenic differentiation on Gelfoam®, comparable with the tissue culture surface. Data confirmed that Gelfoam® could be used as a scaffold for cell attachment and a delivery vehicle to implant MSCs in vivo. Histomorphometric analyses of bones harvested from rats treated with hMSCs showed statistically significant increase in collagen/early bone formation, with cells positive for osteogenic and angiogenic markers in the defect site. This pattern was visible as early as 4 weeks post treatment. Conclusions. Xenogenically implanted human MSCs have the potential to heal an alveolar tooth defect in rats. Gelfoam®, a commonly used clinical biomaterial, can serve as a scaffold to deliver and maintain MSCs to the defect site. Translating this strategy to preclinical animal models provides hope for bone tissue engineering.

Research Article

MSCs Contribute to the Conversion of Ly6Chigh Monocytes into Ly6Clow Subsets under AMI

Background. Ly6Chigh monocytes are inflammatory cells that accumulate in an infarcted myocardium, and Ly6Clow monocytes are believed to be reparative and curb myocardial remodeling. NR4A1 is a novel target for modulating the inflammatory phenotype of monocytes during atherogenesis. Objectives. We aimed to investigate whether MSCs can contribute to the heterogeneity of Ly6Chigh monocytes differentiated into Ly6Clow monocytes and whether this regulation is related to nuclear receptor NR4A1. Methods. Ly6Chigh/low monocytes were first cocultured with MSCs. C57BL/6CX3CR1-/- mice and C57BL/6 wild-type mice were then used to construct AMI models, and survival functions in the two groups were further compared. Ly6Chigh/low monocytes in circulation and in MI tissue of C57BL/6CX3CR1-/- AMI mice with or without MSC transplantation were determined by flow cytometry at day 1 and day 3. NR4A1 expression was further determined by Western blot. Apoptosis of cardiac myocytes in the infarct border zone at day 3 and day 7 was identified by TUNEL kits. Angiogenesis in the AMI heart at day 7 and day 21 was determined through immunohistochemistry by CD31. Results. We first demonstrated that the percentage of Ly6Clow monocytes increased greatly after 3 days of coculture with MSCs ( vs. , ). The expression of NR4A1 in Ly6Chigh/low monocytes was also significantly elevated at that time ( vs. , ). Following AMI, the percentage of circulating Ly6Clow monocytes in C57BL/6CX3CR1-/- mice was significantly lower than that in C57BL/6 wild-type mice ( vs. , ). The survival rate of C57BL/6CX3CR1-/- mice (25%) was significantly lower than that of C57BL/6 wild-type mice (56.3%) after AMI (, ). After MSCs were transplanted, we observed a significant increase in Ly6Clow monocytes both in circulation ( vs. , ) and in the MI heart ( vs. , ) of C57BL/6CX3CR1-/- mice. Western blot analysis further showed that the expression level of NR4A1 in the MI hearts of C57BL/6CX3CR1-/- mice increased significantly under MSC transplantation ( vs. , ). We also found significantly decreased TUNEL+ cardiac myocytes ( vs. , ) in mice with high expression levels of NR4A1 compared to mice with low expression levels. Meanwhile, we further identified increased capillary density in the infarct zones of mice with high expression levels of NR4A1 ( vs. , ) compared to mice with low expression levels 21 days after AMI. Conclusions. MSCs can control the heterogeneity of Ly6Chigh monocyte differentiation into Ly6Clow monocytes and further reduce inflammation after AMI. The underlying mechanism might be that MSCs contribute to the increased expression of NR4A1 in Ly6Chigh/low monocytes.

Research Article

Puerarin Relieved Compression-Induced Apoptosis and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Human Nucleus Pulposus Mesenchymal Stem Cells via the PI3K/Akt Pathway

Puerarin (PUR), an 8-C-glucoside of daidzein extracted from Pueraria plants, is closely related to autophagy, reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and anti-inflammatory effects, but its effects on human nucleus pulposus mesenchymal stem cells (NPMSCs) have not yet been identified. In this study, NPMSCs were cultured in a compression apparatus to simulate the microenvironment of the intervertebral disc under controlled pressure (1.0 MPa), and we found that cell viability was decreased and apoptosis level was gradually increased as compression duration was prolonged. After PUR administration, apoptosis level evaluated by flow cytometry and caspase-3 activity was remitted, and protein levels of Bas as well as cleaved caspase-3 were decreased, while elevated Bcl-2 level was identified. Moreover, ATP production detection, ROS, and JC-1 fluorography as well as quantitative analysis suggested that PUR could attenuate intercellular ROS accumulation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Besides, the rat tail compression model was utilized, which indicated that PUR could restore impaired nucleus pulposus degeneration induced by compression. The PI3K/Akt pathway was identified to be deactivated after compression stimulation by western blot, and PUR could rescue the phosphorylation of Akt, thus reactivating the pathway. The effects of PUR, such as antiapoptosis, cell viability restoration, antioxidation, and mitochondrial maintenance, were all counteracted by application of the PI3K/Akt pathway inhibitor (LY294002). Summarily, PUR could alleviate compression-induced apoptosis and cell death of human NPMSCs in vitro as well as on the rat compression model and maintain intracellular homeostasis by stabilizing mitochondrial membrane potential and attenuating ROS accumulation through activating the PI3K/Akt pathway.

Review Article

The Role of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells, Dermal Regenerative Templates, and Platelet-Rich Plasma in Tissue Engineering-Based Treatments of Chronic Skin Wounds

The continuous improvements in the field of both regenerative medicine and tissue engineering have allowed the design of new and more efficacious strategies for the treatment of chronic or hard-to-heal skin wounds, which represent heavy burden, from a medical and economic point of view. These novel approaches are based on the usage of three key methodologies: stem cells, growth factors, and biomimetic scaffolds. These days, the adipose tissue can be considered the main source of multipotent mesenchymal stem cells, especially adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). ASCs are easily accessible from various fat depots and show an intrinsic plasticity in giving rise to cell types involved in wound healing and angiogenesis. ASCs can be found in fat grafts, historically used in the treatment of chronic wounds, and have been evaluated as such in both animal models and human trials, to exploit their capability of accelerating wound closure and inducing a correct remodeling of the newly formed fibrovascular tissue. Since survival and fitness of ASCs need to be improved, they are now employed in conjunction with advanced wound dressings, together with dermal regenerative templates and platelet-rich plasma (as a source of growth and healing factors). In this work, we provide an overview of the current knowledge on the topic, based on existing studies and on our own experience.

Stem Cells International
 Journal metrics
Acceptance rate44%
Submission to final decision83 days
Acceptance to publication49 days
CiteScore3.800
Impact Factor3.902
 Submit