FGF2-primed 3D spheroids producing IL-8 promote therapeutic angiogenesis

Peripheral artery disease is a progressive, devastating disease that leads to critical limb ischemia (CLI). Therapeutic angiogenesis using stem cell therapy has emerged as a promising approach for its treatment; however, adapting cell-based therapy has been limited by poor cell survival and low treatment efficiency. To overcome unmet clinical needs, we developed a fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2)-immobilized matrix that enabled control of cell adhesion to the surface and exerted a priming effect on the cell. Human adipose-derived stem cells (hASCs) grown in this matrix formed a functionally enhanced cells spheroid (FECS-Ad) that secreted various angiogenic factors including interleukin-8 (IL-8). We demonstrated that IL-8 was upregulated by the FGF2-mediated priming effect during FECS-Ad formation.

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Fig: Schematic illustration of MBP-FGF2 action on 3D formation and priming of hASCs

Immobilized FGF2 substrate induced stronger IL-8 expression than soluble FGF2 ligands, presumably through the FGFR1/JNK/NF-κB signaling cascade. In IL-8-silenced FECS-Ad, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression was decreased and angiogenic potential was reduced. Intramuscular injection of FECS-Ad promoted angiogenesis and muscle regeneration in mouse ischemic tissue, while IL-8 silencing in FECS-Ad inhibited these effects. Taken together, our data demonstrate that IL-8 contributes to therapeutic angiogenesis and suggest that FECS-Ad generated using the MBP-FGF2 matrix might provide a reliable platform for developing therapeutic agents to treat CLI.

Choi, J., Choi, W., Joo, Y. et al. FGF2-primed 3D spheroids producing IL-8 promote therapeutic angiogenesis in murine hindlimb ischemia.npj Regen Med 6, 48 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41536-021-00159-7

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