Background: After myocardial infarction (MI), bone marrow-derived cells (BMDCs) are found within the myocardium. The mechanisms determining BMDC recruitment to the heart remain unclear. We investigated the role of stromal cell-derived factor-1alpha (SDF-1) in this process.
Methods and results: MI produced in mice by coronary ligation induced SDF-1 mRNA and protein expression in the infarct and border zone and decreased serum SDF-1 levels. By quantitative polymerase chain reaction, 48 hours after intravenous infusion of donor-lineage BMDCs, there were 80.5+/-15.6% more BDMCs in infarcted hearts compared with sham-operated controls (P<0.01). Administration of AMD3100, which specifically blocks binding of SDF-1 to its endogenous receptor CXCR4, diminished BMDC recruitment after MI by 64.2+/-5.5% (P<0.05), strongly suggesting a requirement for SDF-1 in BMDC recruitment to the infarcted heart. Forced expression of SDF-1 in the heart by adenoviral gene delivery 48 hours after MI doubled BMDC recruitment over MI alone (P<0.001) but did not enhance recruitment in the absence of MI, suggesting that SDF-1 can augment, but is not singularly sufficient for, BDMC recruitment to the heart. Gene expression analysis after MI revealed increased levels of several genes in addition to SDF-1, including those for vascular endothelial growth factor, matrix metalloproteinase-9, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, which might act in concert with SDF-1 to recruit BMDCs to the injured heart.
Conclusions: SDF-1/CXCR4 interactions play a crucial role in the recruitment of BMDCs to the heart after MI and can further increase homing in the presence, but not in the absence, of injury.