cAMP Promotes Cell Migration Through Cell Junctional Complex Dynamics and Actin Cytoskeleton Remodeling: Implications in Skin Wound Healing

Stem Cells Dev. 2015 Nov 1;24(21):2513-24. doi: 10.1089/scd.2015.0130. Epub 2015 Sep 2.


Stem cells have attracted great interest for their therapeutic capacity in tissue regeneration. Cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP), existing in high concentration at wound sites, mediated various signaling pathways such as cytoskeleton dynamics, cell adhesion, and cell migration in stem cells, which suggest the critical roles of cAMP in the wound healing process through functional regulation of stem cells. However, the mechanisms behind the effect of cAMP on mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) motility and its roles on skin wound healing remain to be fully elucidated. In the present study, 8-Bromo cAMP-treated mESCs showed significant wound closure and improved neovascularization. Moreover, 8-Bromo cAMP stimulated mESC migration into the wound bed. 8-Bromo cAMP also increased ESC motility in in vitro migration assay. 8-Bromo cAMP induced myosin light chain phosphorylation through Rac1 and Cdc42 signaling, which were involved in 8-Bromo cAMP-induced decrease in expression of junction proteins (connexin 43, E-cadherin, and occludin) at the plasma membrane. Subsequently, 8-Bromo cAMP induced the disruption of cell junctions (including gap junctions, adherens junctions, and tight junctions), which reduced the function of the gap junctions and cell adhesion. In addition, 8-Bromo cAMP-induced Rac1 and Cdc42 activation increased Arp3, TOCA, PAK, and N-WASP expression, but decreased cofilin phosphorylation level, which elicited actin cytoskeleton remodeling. In contrast to the control, 8-Bromo cAMP evoked a substantial migration of cells into the denuded area, which was blocked by the small interfering RNAs of the signaling pathway-related molecules or by inhibitors. In conclusion, cAMP enhanced the migration of mESCs through effective coordination of junctional disruption and actin cytoskeleton remodeling, which increased the wound healing capacity of ESCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adherens Junctions / drug effects*
  • Adherens Junctions / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic AMP / pharmacology*
  • Gap Junctions / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin / injuries
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Cadherins
  • Cyclic AMP