Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BMSCs) are multipotential stem cells capable of differentiation into numerous cell types, including fibroblasts, cartilage, bone, muscle, and brain cells. BMSCs also secrete a large number of growth factors and cytokines that are critical to the repair of injured tissues. Because of the extraordinary plasticity and the ability of syngeneic or allogeneic BMSCs to secrete tissue-repair factors, we investigated the therapeutic efficacy of BMSCs for healing of fascial and cutaneous incisional wounds in Sprague-Dawley rats. Systemic administration of syngeneic BMSCs (2 × 106) once daily for 4 days or a single treatment with 5 × 106 BMSCs 24 hours after wounding significantly increased the wound bursting strength of fascial and cutaneous wounds on days 7 and 14 postwounding. Wound healing was also significantly improved following injection of BMSCs locally at the wound site. Furthermore, allogeneic BMSCs were as efficient as syngeneic BMSCs in promoting wound healing. Administration of BMSCs labeled with iron oxides/1,1′-dioctadecyl-3,3,3′,3′-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate fluorescent dye revealed that systemically administered BMSCs engraft to the wound. The increase in the tensile strength of wounds treated with BMSCs was associated with increased production of collagen in the wound. In addition, BMSC treatment caused more rapid histologic maturation of wounds compared with untreated wounds. These data suggest that cell therapy with BMSCs has the potential to augment healing of surgical and cutaneous wounds.
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