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Stem Cells International
Volume 2013, Article ID 892065, 9 pages
Research Article

Hepatocyte Growth Factor-Loaded Biomaterials for Mesenchymal Stem Cell Recruitment

1Institute of Pathology, Aachen University Hospital, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany
2Biointerface Group, Helmholtz Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Biointerface Group, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany
3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Aachen University Hospital, RWTH Aachen, 52074 Aachen, Germany

Received 14 March 2013; Revised 2 May 2013; Accepted 7 May 2013

Academic Editor: Weian Zhao

Copyright © 2013 Julia van de Kamp et al. 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.


Human adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) can be readily harvested from bone marrow through aspiration. MSC are involved in tissue regeneration and repair, particularly in wound healing. Due to their high self-renewal capacity and excellent differentiation potential in vitro, MSC are ideally suited for regenerative medicine. The complex interactions of MSC with their environment and their influence on the molecular and functional levels are widely studied but not completely understood. MSC secrete, for example, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), whose concentration is enhanced in wounded areas and which is shown to act as a chemoattractant for MSC. We produced HGF-loaded biomaterials based on collagen and fibrin gels to develop a recruitment system for endogenous MSC to improve wound healing. Here, we report that HGF incorporated into collagen or fibrin gels leads to enhanced and directed MSC migration in vitro. HGF-loaded biomaterials might be potentially used as in vivo wound dressings to recruit endogenous MSC from tissue-specific niches towards the wounded area. This novel approach may help to reduce costly multistep procedures of cell isolation, in vitro culture, and transplantation usually used in tissue engineering.