Hydroxyapatite coating of cellulose sponges attracts bone-marrow-derived stem cells in rat subcutaneous tissue.
ABSTRACT The presence of bone-marrow-derived stem cells was investigated in a wound-healing model where subcutaneously implanted cellulose sponges were used to induce granulation tissue formation. When cellulose was coated with hydroxyapatite (HA), the sponges attracted circulating haemopoietic and mesenchymal progenitor cells more efficiently than uncoated cellulose. We hypothesized that the giant cells/macrophages of HA-coated sponges recognize HA as foreign material, phagocyte or hydrolyse it and release calcium ions, which are recognized by the calcium-sensing receptors (CaRs) expressed on many cells including haemopoietic progenitors. Our results showed, indeed, that the HA-coated sponges contained more CaR-positive cells than untreated sponges. The stem cells are, most probably, responsible for the richly vascularized granulation tissue formed in HA-coated sponges. This cell-guiding property of HA-coated cellulose might be useful in clinical situations involving impaired wound repair.