BALB/c mice and C57/BL6 mice have different abilities to recover from ischemia. C57/BL6 mice display increased vessel collateralization and vascular endothelial growth factor expression with a consequent rapid recovery from ischemia compared with BALB/c mice. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are one of the main cell types that contribute to the recovery from ischemia because, among their biological activities, they produce several proangiogenic paracrine factors and differentiate into endothelial cells. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether the MSCs of these two mouse strains have different inductive capacities for recovering ischemic limbs.
MSCs from these two strains were obtained from the bone marrow, purified and characterized before being used for in vivo experiments. Limb ischemia was surgically induced in BALB/c mice, and MSCs were injected on the fifth day. The evolution of limb necrosis was evaluated over the subsequent month. Muscle strength was assessed on the 30th day after the injection, and then the animals were sacrificed to determine the muscle mass and perform histological analyses to detect cellular infiltration, capillary and microvessel densities, fibrosis, necrosis and tissue regeneration.
The MSCs from both strains promoted high level of angiogenesis similarly, resulting in good recovery from ischemia. However, BALB/c MSCs promoted more muscle regeneration (57%) than C57/BL6 MSCs (44%), which was reflected in the increased muscle strength (0.79 N versus 0.45 N).
The different genetic background of MSCs from BALB/c mice and C57/BL6 mice was not a relevant factor in promoting angiogenesis of limb ischemia, because both cells showed a similar angiogenic activity. These cells also showed a potential myogenic effect, but the stronger effect promoted by BALB/c MSCs indicates that the different genetic background of MSCs was more relevant in myogenesis than angiogesis.