Serious injuries of endometrium in women of reproductive age are often followed by uterine scar formation and a lack of functional endometrium predisposing to infertility or miscarriage. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) have shown great promise in clinical applications. In the present study, BM-MSCs loaded onto degradable collagen membranes were constructed. Collagen membranes provided 3-dimmensional architecture for the attachment, growth and migration of rat BM-MSCs and did not impair the expression of the stemness genes. We then investigated the effect of collagen/BM-MSCs constructs in the healing of severe uterine injury in rats (partial full thickness uterine excision). At four weeks after the transplantation of collagen/BM-MSCs constructs, BM-MSCs were mainly located to the basal membrane of regenerative endometrium. The wounded tissue adjacent to collagen/BM-MSCs constructs expressed higher level of bFGF, IGF-1, TGFβ1 and VEGF than the corresponding tissue in rats receiving collagen construct alone or in spontaneous regeneration group. Moreover, the collagen/BM-MSCs system increased proliferative abilities of uterine endometrial and muscular cells, facilitated microvasculature regeneration, and restored the ability of endometrium to receive the embryo and support its development to a viable stage. Our findings indicate that BM-MSCs may support uterine tissue regeneration.
Keywords: Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells; Collagen scaffold; Microvasculature; Uterine regeneration.
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