Biochimica et biophysica acta

Electric field as a potential directional cue in homing of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells to cutaneous wounds.

PMID 27864076


Bone marrow-derived cells are thought to participate and enhance the healing process contributing to skin cells or releasing regulatory cytokines. Directional cell migration in a weak direct current electric field (DC-EF), known as electrotaxis, may be a way of cell recruitment to the wound site. Here we examined the influence of electric field on bone marrow adherent cells (BMACs) and its potential role as a factor attracting mesenchymal stem cells to cutaneous wounds. We observed that in an external EF, BMAC movement was accelerated and highly directed with distinction of two cell populations migrating toward opposite poles: mesenchymal stem cells migrated toward the cathode, whereas macrophages toward the anode. Analysis of intracellular pathways revealed that macrophage electrotaxis mostly depended on Rho family small GTPases and calcium ions, but interruption of PI3K and Arp2/3 had the most pronounced effect on electrotaxis of MSCs. However, in all cases we observed only a partial decrease in directionality of cell movement after inhibition of certain proteins. Additionally, although we noticed the accumulation of EGFR at the cathodal side of MSCs, it was not involved in electrotaxis. Moreover, the cell reaction to EF was very dynamic with first symptoms occurring within <1min. In conclusion, the physiological DC-EF may act as a factor positioning bone marrow cells within a wound bed and the opposite direction of MSC and macrophage movement did not result either from utilizing different signalling or redistribution of investigated cell surface receptors.