A new role of substance P as an injury-inducible messenger for mobilization of CD29(+) stromal-like cells

Nat Med. 2009 Apr;15(4):425-35. doi: 10.1038/nm.1909. Epub 2009 Mar 8.


Tissue injury may create a specific microenvironment for inducing the systemic participation of stromal-like cells in the repair process. Here we show that substance P is an injury-inducible factor that acts early in the wound healing process to induce CD29(+) stromal-like cell mobilization. Likewise, mobilization of such cells also occurs in uninjured mice, rats and rabbits if substance P is intravenously injected. Upon further characterization these substance P-mobilized CD29(+) cells were found to be similar to stromal cells from a number of connective tissues, including bone marrow (that is, bone marrow stromal cells, or BMSCs). Both substance P injection and transfusion of autologously derived substance P-mobilized CD29(+) cells from uninjured rabbits accelerated wound healing in an alkali burn model. Also, epithelial engraftment of the transfused cells into the injured tissue occurred during the wound healing. Finally, using human BMSCs as a test population, we show that substance P stimulates transmigration, cell proliferation, activation of the extracellular signal-related kinases (Erk) 1 and 2 and nuclear translocation of beta-catenin in vitro. This finding highlights a previously undescribed function of substance P as a systemically acting messenger of injury and a mobilizer of CD29(+) stromal-like cells to participate in wound healing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Eye Injuries / therapy
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Mobilization*
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / genetics
  • Integrin beta1 / physiology*
  • Interleukin-1 / genetics
  • Mice
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rabbits
  • Regeneration / physiology
  • Stromal Cells / physiology*
  • Substance P / genetics
  • Substance P / physiology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Wound Healing / physiology*
  • beta Catenin / physiology


  • Hif1a protein, mouse
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Integrin beta1
  • Interleukin-1
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • beta Catenin
  • Substance P