Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor protects mesenchymal stem cells

Daniel J. Watkins, Yu Zhou, Chun Liang Chen, Amanda Darbyshire, Gail E. Besner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: We have previously demonstrated that mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) administration protects the intestines from injury in a mouse model of intestinal ischemia/reperfusion injury. We have also shown that heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) is a potent intestinal cytoprotective agent in vivo that can protect the intestines by way of its effects on stem cells. The goal of the present study was to examine the effects of HB-EGF on both amniotic fluid (AF)- and bone marrow (BM)-derived MSCs in vitro. Methods: MSCs were isolated from the AF and BM of pan-EGFP mice, grown in MSC-specific culture medium, and purified by sequential passages according to their adherence properties. Pluripotency was confirmed by induced differentiation. After incubation of MSCs with HB-EGF, proliferation was quantified using the CyQuant cell proliferation assay kit under normoxic and anoxic conditions. Chemotaxis was quantified using the CHEMICON QCM cell migration kit, and apoptosis was determined using caspase-3 immunohistochemistry after exposure of the MSCs to anoxic stress. Results: AF-MSCs and BM-MSCs showed significantly increased proliferation and migration in response to HB-EGF. HB-EGF significantly protected AF-MSCs and BM-MSCs from anoxia-induced apoptosis. The proliferative and anti-apoptotic effects of HB-EGF were even more pronounced in AF-MSCs than in BM-MSCs. Conclusions: These results have demonstrated that HB-EGF acts as a mitogenic and chemotactic agent for MSCs that protects MSCs from injury. These findings could have important implications for future experiments designed to use MSCs to protect the intestines from injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-364
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Amniotic fluid
  • Apoptosis
  • Bone marrow
  • Chemotaxis
  • Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor protects mesenchymal stem cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this