Endogenous electric fields play an important role in embryogenesis, regeneration, and wound repair and previous studies have shown that many populations of cells, leukocytes, fibroblasts, epithelial cells, and endothelial cells, exhibit directed migration in response to electric fields. As regenerative therapies continue to explore ways to control mesenchymal progenitor cells to recreate desirable tissues, it is increasingly necessary to characterize the vast nature of biological responses imposed by physical phenomena. Murine adipose-derived stromal cells (mASCs) migrated toward the cathode in direct current (DC) fields of physiologic strength and show a dose dependence of migration rate to stronger fields. Electric fields also caused mASCs to orient perpendicularly to the field vector and elicited a transient increase in cytosolic calcium. Additionally, their galvanotactic response appears to share classic chemotactic signaling pathways that are involved in the migration of other cell types. Galvanotaxis is one predominant result of electric fields on mASCs and it may be exploited to engineer adult stem cell concentrations and locations within implanted grafts or toward sites of wound repair.
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