The chemokine receptor CXCR4 modulates endothelial progenitor cell migration, homing, and differentiation, and plays a key role in cardiovascular regeneration. Here we examined the effect of ex vivo acidic preconditioning (AP) on CXCR4 expression and on the regenerative potential of mouse bone marrow (BM) ckit+ cells.Methods and results
Acidic preconditioning was achieved by exposing BM ckit+ cells to hypercarbic acidosis (pH 7.0) for 24 h; control cells were kept at pH 7.4. Acidic preconditioning enhanced CXCR4 and stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) mRNA levels, as well as CXCR4 phosphorylation. Acidic preconditioning ability to modulate CXCR4 expression depended on cytosolic calcium [Ca2+]i mobilization and on nitric oxide (NO), as determined by [Ca2+]i buffering with BAPTA, and by treatment with the NO donor (DETA/NO) and the NO synthase inhibitor (L-NAME). Further, AP increased SDF-1-driven chemotaxis, transendothelial migration, and differentiation toward the endothelial lineage in vitro. In a mouse model of hindlimb ischaemia, control and AP ckit+ cells were transplanted into the ischaemic muscle; AP cells accelerated blood flow recovery, increased capillary, and arteriole number as well as the number of regenerating muscle fibres vs. control. These effects were abolished by treating AP cells with L-NAME.Conclusion
Acidic preconditioning represents a novel strategy to enhance BM ckit+ cell therapeutic potential via NO-dependent increase in CXCR4 expression.