The reparative abilities of menstrual stem cells modulate the wound matrix signals and improve cutaneous regeneration

Jimena Cuenca*, Alice Le-Gatt, Valentina Castillo, Jose Belletti, Macarena Díaz, G. Mónica Kurte, Paz L. Gonzalez, Francisca Alcayaga-Miranda, Christina M.A.P. Schuh, Fernando Ezquer, Marcelo Ezquer, Maroun Khoury

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Considerable advances have been made toward understanding the cellular and molecular mechanism of wound healing, however, treatments for chronic wounds remain elusive. Emerging concepts utilizing mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from umbilical cord, adipose tissue and bone marrow have shown therapeutical advantages for wound healing. Based on this positive outcome, efforts to determine the optimal sources for MSCs are required in order to improve their migratory, angiogenic, immunomodulatory, and reparative abilities. An alternative source suitable for repetitive, non-invasive collection of MSCs is from the menstrual fluid (MenSCs), displaying a major practical advantage over other sources. This study aims to compare the biological functions and the transcriptomic pattern of MenSCs with umbilical cord MSCs in conditions resembling the wound microenvironment. Consequently, we correlate the specific gene expression signature from MenSCs with changes of the wound matrix signals in vivo. The direct comparison revealed a superior clonogenic and migratory potential of MenSCs as well as a beneficial effect of their secretome on human dermal fibroblast migration in vitro. Furthermore, MenSCs showed increased immunomodulatory properties, inhibiting T-cell proliferation in co-culture. We further, investigated the expression of selected genes involved in wound repair (growth factors, cytokines, chemokines, AMPs, MMPs) and found considerably higher expression levels in MenSCs (ANGPT1 1.5-fold; PDGFA 1.8-fold; PDGFB 791-fold; MMP3 21.6-fold; ELN 13.4-fold; and MMP10 9.2-fold). This difference became more pronounced under a pro-inflammatory stimulation, resembling wound bed conditions. Locally applied in a murine excisional wound splinting model, MenSCs showed a significantly improved wound closure after 14 days, as well as enhanced neovascularization, compared to the untreated group. Interestingly, analysis of excised wound tissue revealed a significantly higher expression of VEGF (1.42-fold) among other factors, translating an important conversion of the matrix signals in the wound site. Furthermore, histological analysis of the wound tissue from MenSCs-treated group displayed a more mature robust vascular network and a genuinely higher collagen content confirming the pro-angiogenic and reparative effect of MenSCs treatment. In conclusion, the superior clonogenicity, immunosuppressive and migration potential in combination with specific paracrine signature of MenSCs, resulted in an enhanced wound healing and cutaneous regeneration process.

Translated title of the contributionLas capacidades reparadoras de las células madre menstruales modulan las señales de la matriz de la herida y mejoran la regeneración cutánea.
Original languageEnglish
Article number464
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - 14 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Cuenca, Le-Gatt, Castillo, Belletti, Díaz, Kurte G, Gonzalez, Alcayaga-Miranda, Schuh, Ezquer, Ezquer and Khoury.


  • Angiogenesis
  • Cell therapy
  • Menstrual stem cells
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Regeneration
  • Wound healing


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