Objective: To explore the effects of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) on migration, proliferation and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Methods: MSCs were obtained from Sprague-Dawley rats by a combination of gradient centrifugation and cell culture techniques and treated with IGF-1 at concentrations of 5–20 ng/ml. Proliferation of MSCs was determined as the mean doubling time. Expression of CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) and migration property were determined by flow cytometry and transwell migration essay, respectively. mRNA expression of GATA-4 and collagen II was determined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Results: The mean doubling time of MSC proliferation was decreased, and the expression of CXCR4 on MSCs and migration of MSCs were increased by IGF-1, all in a dose-dependent manner, while the optimal concentration of IGF-1 on proliferation and migration was different. IGF-1 did not affect the expression of GATA-4 or collagen II mRNA. Conclusions: IGF-1 dose-dependently stimulated the proliferation of MSCs, upregulated the expression of CXCR4, and accelerated migration. There was no apparent differentiation of MSCs to cardiomyocytes or chondrocytes after culturing with IGF-1 alone.
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