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Angiogenic effects of cell therapy within a biomaterial scaffold in a rat hind limb ischemia model

Abstract

Critical limb ischemia (CLI) is a life- and limb-threatening condition affecting 1–10% of humans worldwide with peripheral arterial disease. Cellular therapies, such as bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been used for the treatment of CLI. However, little information is available regarding the angiogenic potency of MSCs and mast cells (MC) in angiogenesis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of MCs and MSCs to induce angiogenesis in a rat model of ischemic hind limb injury on a background of a tissue engineered hydrogel scaffold. Thirty rats were randomly divided into six control and experimental groups as follows: (a) Control healthy (b) Ischemic positive control with right femoral artery transection, (c) ischemia with hydrogel scaffold, (d) ischemia with hydrogel plus MSC, (e) ischemia with hydrogel plus MC and (f) ischemia with hydrogel plus MSC and MCs. 106 of each cell type, isolated from bone marrow stroma, was injected into the transected artery used to induce hind limb ischemia. The other hind limb served as a non-ischemic control. After 14 days, capillary density, vascular diameter, histomorphometry and immunohistochemistry at the transected location and in gastrocnemius muscles were evaluated. Capillary density and number of blood vessels in the region of the femoral artery transection in animals receiving MSCs and MCs was increased compared to control groups (P < 0.05). Generally the effect of MCs and MSCs was similar although the combined MC/MSC therapy resulted in a reduced, rather than enhanced, effect. In the gastrocnemius muscle, immunohistochemical and histomorphometric observation showed a great ratio of capillaries to muscle fibers in all the cell-receiving groups (P < 0.05). The data indicates that the combination of hydrogel and cell therapy generates a greater angiogenic potential at the ischemic site than cell therapy or hydrogels alone. © 2021, The Author(s).


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