A homing mechanism for bone marrow-derived progenitor cell recruitment to the neovasculature

J Clin Invest. 2006 Mar;116(3):652-62. doi: 10.1172/JCI24751. Epub 2006 Feb 23.


CD34+ bone marrow-derived progenitor cells contribute to tissue repair by differentiating into endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells, hematopoietic cells, and possibly other cell types. However, the mechanisms by which circulating progenitor cells home to remodeling tissues remain unclear. Here we show that integrin alpha4beta1 (VLA-4) promotes the homing of circulating progenitor cells to the alpha4beta1 ligands VCAM and cellular fibronectin, which are expressed on actively remodeling neovasculature. Progenitor cells, which express integrin alpha4beta1, homed to sites of active tumor neovascularization but not to normal nonimmune tissues. Antagonists of integrin alpha4beta1, but not other integrins, blocked the adhesion of these cells to endothelia in vitro and in vivo as well as their homing to neovasculature and outgrowth into differentiated cell types. These studies describe an adhesion event that facilitates the homing of progenitor cells to the neovasculature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology*
  • CD18 Antigens / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Integrin alpha4beta1 / genetics
  • Integrin alpha4beta1 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic*


  • Antigens, CD34
  • CD18 Antigens
  • Integrin alpha4beta1