Basic fibroblast growth factor controls migration in human mesenchymal stem cells

Stem Cells. 2006 Jul;24(7):1750-8. doi: 10.1634/stemcells.2005-0191.


Little is known about the migration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Some therapeutic approaches had demonstrated that MSCs were able to regenerate injured tissues when applied from different sites of application. This implies that MSCs are not only able to migrate but also that the direction of migration is controlled. Factors that are involved in the control of the migration of MSCs are widely unknown. The migratory ability of isolated MSCs was tested in different conditions. The migratory capability was examined using Boyden chamber assay in the presence or absence of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), erythropoietin, interleukin-6, stromal cell-derived factor-beta, and vascular endothelial growth factor. bFGF in particular was able to increase the migratory activity of MSCs through activation of the Akt/protein kinase B (PKB) pathway. The results were supported by analyzing the orientation of the cytoskeleton. In the presence of a bFGF gradient, the actin filaments developed a parallelized pattern that was strongly related to the gradient. Surprisingly, the influence of bFGF was not only an attraction but also routing of MSCs. The bFGF gradient experiment showed that low concentrations of bFGF lead to an attraction of the cells, whereas higher concentrations resulted in repulsion. This ambivalent effect of bFGF provides the possibility to a purposeful routing of MSCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Movement* / physiology
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / physiology*
  • Heparin / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Vimentin / metabolism
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Actins
  • Vimentin
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Heparin
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt