VEGF with AMD3100 endogenously mobilizes mesenchymal stem cells and improves fracture healing

Richard Meeson, Anita Sanghani-Keri, Melanie Coathup, Gordon Blunn

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A significant number of fractures develop non‐union. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy may be beneficial, however, this requires cell acquisition, culture and delivery. Endogenous mobilization of stem cells offers a non‐invasive alternative. The hypothesis was administration of VEGF and the CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100 would increase the circulating pool of available MSCs and improve fracture healing. Ex‐breeder female wistar rats received VEGF followed by AMD3100, or sham PBS. Blood prepared for culture and colonies were counted. P3 cells were analyzed by flow cytometry, bi‐differentiation. The effect of mobilization on fracture healing was evaluated with 1.5 mm femoral osteotomy stabilized with an external fixator in 12–14 week old female Wistars. The mobilized group had significantly greater number of cfus/ml compared to controls, p = 0.029. The isolated cells expressed 1.8% CD34, 35% CD45, 61% CD29, 78% CD90, and differentiated into osteoblasts but not into adipocytes. The fracture gap in animals treated with VEGF and AMD3100 showed increased bone volume; 5.22 ± 1.7 µm3 and trabecular thickness 0.05 ± 0.01 µm compared with control animals (4.3 ± 3.1 µm3, 0.04 ± 0.01 µm, respectively). Radiographic scores quantifying fracture healing (RUST) showed that the animals in the mobilization group had a higher healing score compared to controls (9.6 vs. 7.7). Histologically, mobilization resulted in significantly lower group variability in bone formation (p = 0.032) and greater amounts of bone and less fibrous tissue than the control group. Clinical significance: This pre‐clinical study demonstrates a beneficial effect of endogenous MSC mobilization on fracture healing, which may have translation potential to prevent or treat clinical fractures at risk of delayed or non‐union fractures. 
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Early online date22 Oct 2018
Publication statusEarly online - 22 Oct 2018


  • RCUK
  • MRC
  • MR/N002318/1


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