HGF, SDF-1, and MMP-9 are involved in stress-induced human CD34 + stem cell recruitment to the liver

Orit Kollet, Shoham Shivtiel, Yuan Qing Chen, Jenny Suriawinata, Swan N. Thung, Mariana D. Dabeva, Joy Kahn, Asaf Spiegel, Ayelet Dar, Sarit Samira, Polina Goichberg, Alexander Kalinkovich, Fernando Arenzana-Seisdedos, Arnon Nagler, Izhar Hardan, Michel Revel, David A. Shafritz, Tsvee Lapidot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hematopoietic stem cells rarely contribute to hepatic regeneration, however, the mechanisms governing their homing to the liver, which is a crucial first step, are poorly understood. The chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), which attracts human and murine progenitors, is expressed by liver bile duct epithelium. Neutralization of the SDF-1 receptor CXCR4 abolished homing and engraftment of the murine liver by human CD34+ hematopoietic progenitors, while local injection of human SDF-1 increased their homing. Engrafted human cells were localized in clusters surrounding the bile ducts, in close proximity to SDF-1-expressing epithelial cells, and differentiated into albumin-producing cells. Irradiation or inflammation increased SDF-1 levels and hepatic injury induced MMP-9 activity, leading to both increased CXCR4 expression and SDF-1-mediated recruitment of hematopoietic progenitors to the liver. Unexpectedly, HGF, which is increased following liver injury, promoted protrusion formation, CXCR4 upregulation, and SDF-1-mediated directional migration by human CD34+ progenitors, and synergized with stem cell factor. Thus, stress-induced signals, such as increased expression of SDF-1, MMP-9, and HGF, recruit human CD34+ progenitors with hematopoietic and/or hepatic-like potential to the liver of NOD/SCID mice. Our results suggest the potential of hematopoietic CD34+/CXCR4 + cells to respond to stress signals from non-hematopoietic injured organs as an important mechanism for tissue targeting and repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-169
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesR01DK017609
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


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