Mesenchymal stem cells in peripheral blood of severely injured patients

  • R. Wiegner
  • N.-E. Rudhart
  • E. Barth
  • F. Gebhard
  • L. Lampl
  • M. S. Huber-Lang
  • R. E. Brenner
Original Article



Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are primarily stromal cells present in bone marrow and other tissues that are crucial for tissue regeneration and can be mobilized into peripheral blood after different types of organ damage. However, little is known about MSC appearance in blood in the setting of polytrauma.


We conducted a monocentered and longitudinal observational clinical study in 11 polytraumatized patients with an injury severity score (ISS) ≥ 24 to determine the numbers of MSCs in peripheral blood. Blood was collected from healthy volunteers and patients after polytrauma in the emergency room and 4, 12, 24, 48 h, 5 and 10 day later, and cells carrying MSC-surface markers (negative for CD45, positive for CD29, CD73, CD90, CD105, and CD166 in different combinations also employing the more stringent markers STRO1 and MSCA1) were detected and characterized using flow cytometry. Relative numbers of MSC-like cells were correlated with clinical parameters to evaluate if specific injury patterns had an influence on their presence in the blood cell pool.


We were able to detect MSC marker-positive cells in both cohorts; however, the percentage of those cells present in the blood of patients during the first 10 day after injury was mostly similar to healthy volunteers, and significantly lowers starting at 4 h post trauma for one marker combination when compared to controls. Furthermore, the presence of a pelvis fracture was partly correlated with reduced relative numbers of MSC-like cells detectable in blood.


Polytrauma in humans was associated with partly reduced relative numbers of MSC-like cells detected in peripheral blood in the time course after injury. Further studies need to define if this reduction was due to lower mobilization from the bone marrow or to active migration to the sites of injury.


Mesenchymal stem cells MSC-like cells Trauma Polytrauma Fracture 



This work was supported in part by a research grant from the German Ministry of Defense, Berlin, Germany (Vertragsforschungsvorhaben AZ E/U2AD/CD525/DF559).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Rebecca Wiegner, Nina-Emily Hengartner, Eberhard Barth, Florian Gebhard, Lorenz Lampl, Markus S. Huber-Lang, and Rolf E. Brenner declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of human and animal rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Wiegner
    • 1
  • N.-E. Rudhart
    • 2
  • E. Barth
    • 3
  • F. Gebhard
    • 4
  • L. Lampl
    • 5
  • M. S. Huber-Lang
    • 1
  • R. E. Brenner
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Clinical and Experimental Trauma ImmunologyUniversity Hospital UlmUlmGermany
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedics, Division for Biochemistry of Joint and Connective Tissue DiseasesUniversity of UlmUlmGermany
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity Hospital of UlmUlmGermany
  4. 4.Department of Orthopedic Trauma, Hand-, Plastic- and Reconstructive SurgeryUniversity Hospital of UlmUlmGermany
  5. 5.Department of AnesthesiologyMilitary Hospital UlmUlmGermany

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