Wound Healing and Angiogenesis through Combined Use of a Vascularized Tissue Flap and Adipose-Derived Stem Cells in a Rat Hindlimb Irradiated Ischemia Model

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Treatment of critical limb ischemia is sometimes difficult because of the patient’s condition, and some novel approaches are needed.


The hindlimbs of Sprague-Dawley rats, after 20-Gy x-ray irradiation and surgical occlusion, were divided into four groups: with a superficial fascial flap, 5.0 × 106 adipose-derived stromal/stem cells, and both combined. The rats were tested for laser tissue blood flow, immunohistologic blood vessel density, and foot paw punch hole wound healing. Green fluorescent protein–tagged Sprague-Dawley rats were used for further investigation by cell tracking for 2 weeks.


Laser tissue blood flow demonstrated a significant increase in the combined treatment of flap and adipose-derived stem cells at both 1 and 2 weeks. There were no significant differences between the treatment groups treated with flaps alone and those treated with adipose-derived stem cells alone. Wound healing was significantly increased following combined treatment at 1 week, and there was no wound by 2 weeks except for the no-flap and no–adipose-derived stem cell group. The number of vessels depicted by von Willebrand factor showed a significant increase in the combined treatment group, at both 1 week and 2 weeks. In the cell tracking group, at 2 weeks, the green fluorescent protein–tagged adipose-derived stem cells were significantly more positive in the no-flap group than in the flap group.


Adipose-derived stem cells may be a potent cell source in irradiated and occluded limbs by enhancing tissue blood flow and blood vessel density. Adipose-derived stem cells may play an important role in some difficult ischemic conditions in terms of wound healing.

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