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Stem Cells International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 428403, 7 pages
Review Article

Early Growth Response Genes Signaling Supports Strong Paracrine Capability of Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

Received 16 October 2012; Accepted 21 November 2012

Academic Editor: Yoshitaka Iso

Copyright © 2012 Kenichi Tamama and Dominique J. Barbeau. 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.


MSCs provide a promising method for cell therapy through their wound healing and tissue regenerative properties. Originally, MSCs' role in wound healing was thought to be tied to their multipotency, but it is now accepted that MSCs mediate the healing process through their strong paracrine capability. EGF was shown to facilitate in vitro expansion of MSCs without altering multipotency. Our previous data suggest that the molecular machinery underlying MSCs' strong paracrine capability lies downstream of EGFR signaling, and we focus on transcription factors EGR1 and EGR2. Evidence suggests that EGR1 regulates angiogenic and fibrogenic factor production in MSCs, and an EGFR-EGR1-EGFR ligands autocrine loop is one of the underlying mechanisms supporting their strong paracrine machinery through EGR1. EGR2 appears to regulate the expression of immunomodulatory molecules. Chronic nonhealing wounds are ischemic, inflammatory, and often fibrotic, and the hypoxic micro-environment of these wounds may compromise MSCs' wound healing properties in vivo by upregulating the EGR1's fibrogenic effects and downregulating the EGR2's immuno-modulatory effects. Thus, these transcription factors can be potential targets in the optimization of cell-based therapies. Further study in vitro is required to understand MSCs' paracrine machinery and to optimize it as a tool for effective cell-based therapies.