The role of SDF-1α-ECM crosstalk in determining neural stem cell fate

Caroline P. Addington, Christine M. Pauken, Michael Caplan, Sarah Stabenfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The consequences of central nervous system injury are far-reaching and debilitating and, while an endogenous repair response to neural injury has been observed in recent years, the mechanisms behind this response remain unclear. Neural progenitor/stem cell (NPSC) migration to the site of injury from the neural stem cell niches (e.g. subventricular zone and hippocampus) has been observed to be vasophilic in nature. While the chemotactic stimuli directing NPSC homing to injury is not well established, it is thought to be due in part to an increasing gradient of chemotactic cytokines, such as stromal cell-derived factor 1α (SDF-1α). Based on these recent findings, we hypothesize that critical crosstalk between SDF-1α and the extracellular matrix (ECM) drives injury-induced NPSC behavior. In this study, we investigated the effect of SDF-1α and ECM substrates (Matrigel, laminin, and vitronectin) on the migration, differentiation, and proliferation of NPSCs in vitro using standard assays. The results demonstrated that SDF-1α and laminin-based ECM (Matrigel and laminin) significantly and synergistically enhanced NPSC migration and acute neuronal differentiation. These effects were significantly attenuated with the addition of AMD3100 (an antagonist against the SDF-1α receptor, CXCR4). SDF-1α alone significantly increased NPSC proliferation regardless of ECM substrate, however no synergy was observed between SDF-1α and the ECM. These results serve to elucidate the relationship between adhesive and soluble signaling factors of interest and their effect on NPSC behavior following neural injury. Furthermore, these results better inform the next generation of biomaterials aimed at stimulating endogenous neural regeneration for neural injury and neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3263-3272
Number of pages10
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Chemotaxis
  • ECM
  • Laminin
  • Neural stem cell
  • Progenitor cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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