Mesenchymal Stem Cells Are Recruited into Wounded Skin and Contribute to Wound Repair by Transdifferentiation into Multiple Skin Cell Type

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate not only into mesenchymal lineage cells but also into various other cell lineages. As MSCs can easily be isolated from bone marrow, they can be used in various tissue engineering strategies. In this study, we assessed whether MSCs can differentiate into multiple skin cell types including keratinocytes and contribute to wound repair. First, we found keratin 14-positive cells, presumed to be keratinocytes that transdifferentiated from MSCs in vitro. Next, we assessed whether MSCs can transdifferentiate into multiple skin cell types in vivo. At sites of mouse wounds that had been i.v. injected with MSCs derived from GFP transgenic mice, we detected GFP-positive cells associated with specific markers for keratinocytes, endothelial cells, and pericytes. Because MSCs are predominantly located in bone marrow, we investigated the main MSC recruitment mechanism. MSCs expressed several chemokine receptors; especially CCR7, which is a receptor of SLC/CCL21, that enhanced MSC migration. Finally, MSC-injected mice underwent rapid wound repaired. Furthermore, intradermal injection of SLC/CCL21 increased the migration of MSCs, which resulted in an even greater acceleration of wound repair. Taken together, we have demonstrated that MSCs contribute to wound repair via processes involving MSCs differentiation various cell components of the skin.