Hypoxic Pretreatment of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Accelerates Diabetic Wound Healing via circ-Gcap14 and HIF-1 α/VEGF Mediated Angiopoiesis

Int J Stem Cells. 2021 Nov 30;14(4):447-454. doi: 10.15283/ijsc21050.


Background and objectives: Adipose-derived stem cell (ADSC) transplantation improves stem cell paracrine function and can enhance wound healing. However, in diabetic patients, glucose-associated effects on this function and cell survival lead to impaired wound closure, thereby limiting ADSC transplantation efficiency. The hypoxia-inducible factor HIF-1α has an important protective function during wound healing. Here, we aim to clarify the regulatory mechanism of ADSCs.

Methods and results: ADSCs were isolated from BALB/C mice adipose samples. We then used high-throughput sequencing to assess abnormal expression of circular RNAs (circRNAs). We also used an in vivo full-thickness skin defect mouse model to assess the effects of transplanted ADSC on diabetic wound closure. Hypoxic pretreatment of ADSCs accelerated diabetic wound closure, which enhanced angiogenic growth factor expression in our mouse model. High-throughput sequencing and RT-qPCR indicated that circ-Gcap14 was upregulated in hypoxic pretreated ADSCs. Similarly, circ-Gcap14 downregulation also decreased the therapeutic effects of ADSCs; however, circ-Gcap14 overexpression increased the effects of ADSC by promoting angiopoiesis. We also used a luciferase reporter assay to confirm that miR-18a-5p and HIF-1α were downstream targets of circ-Gcap14. HIF-1α expression plays an important role in increased VEGF level.

Conclusions: Based on our data, we suggest that circ-Gcap14 plays an important role in accelerating hypoxic ADSC-mediated diabetic wound closure, by enhancing mouse angiogenic growth factor expression and regulating downstream miR-18a-5p/HIF-1α expression.

Keywords: ADSCs; Angiopoiesis; Diabetic wound healing; HIF-1α; circ-Gcap14.