Int J Biol Sci 2014; 10(1):80-89. doi:10.7150/ijbs.7237 This issue

Research Paper

Localization of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Umbilical Cord Blood and Their Role in Repair of Diabetic Foot Ulcers in Rats

Qing-Song Zhao1*, Nan Xia1*, Nan Zhao1, Ming Li1, Chang-Long Bi1, Qing Zhu1, Guo-Fen Qiao2✉, Zhi-Feng Cheng1✉

1. Department of endocrinology and Metabolism, the Fourth affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University
2. Department of Pharmacology, Harbin Medical University; Harbin, China
* These authors contributed equally to this work

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Zhao QS, Xia N, Zhao N, Li M, Bi CL, Zhu Q, Qiao GF, Cheng ZF. Localization of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Umbilical Cord Blood and Their Role in Repair of Diabetic Foot Ulcers in Rats. Int J Biol Sci 2014; 10(1):80-89. doi:10.7150/ijbs.7237. Available from

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The aim of this study is to explore the localization of human mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord matrix (hMSCs-UC) and the role of these cells in the repair of foot ulcerate tissue in diabetic foot ulcers in rats. A diabetic rat model was established by administering Streptozotocin. Diabetic foot ulceration was defined as non-healing or delayed-healing of empyrosis on the dorsal hind foot after 14 weeks. hMSCs-UC were delivered through the left femoral artery. We evaluated the localization of hMSCs-UC and their role in tissue repair in diabetic foot ulcers by histological analysis, PCR, and immunohistochemical staining. A model for diabetes was established in 54 out of 60 rats (90% success rate) and 27 of these rats were treated with hMSCs-UC. The area of ulceration was significantly and progressively reduced at 7 and 14 days following treatment with hMSCs-UC. This gross observation was strongly supported by the histological changes, including newly developed blood vessels and proliferation of inflammatory cells at 3 days post-treatment, significant increase in granulation tissue at 7 days post-treatment and squamous epithelium or stratified squamous epithelium at 14 days post-treatment. Importantly, human leukocyte antigen type-I (HLA-1) was confirmed in ulcerated tissue by RT-PCR. The expression of cytokeratin 19 was significantly increased in diabetic model rats, with no detectable change in cytokeratin 10. Additionally, both collagens I and III increased in model rats treated with hMSCs-UC, but the ratio of collagen I/III was less significant in treated rats compared with control rats. These results suggest that hMSCs-UC specifically localize to the target ulcerated tissue and may promote the epithelialization of ulcerated tissue by stimulating the release of cytokeratin 19 from keratinocytes and extracellular matrix formation.

Keywords: human mesenchymal stem cell from umbilical cord matrix, human leukocyte antigen, diabetic foot, tissue repair