An advanced form of peripheral artery disease (PAD), critical limb ischemia is often associated with high levels of morbidity and mortality. Patients who suffer from this condition often experience acute pain in the affected limbs, even while at rest. In the past, amputation has often been the unfortunate result of this disease.
Now scientists in Italy have been able to utilize the body’s own supply of endogenous stem cells in the treatment of critical limb ischemia in a mouse model. Employing the standard paradigm of femoral artery ligation in the mice, the researchers stimulated the mobilization of endogenous stem cells with G-CSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor) both exclusively and in combination with parathyroid hormone.
Improvement was seen in the mice, most dramatically with the G-CSF and parathyroid hormone combination which was found to induce angiogenesis in the ischemic muscles.
Although clinical trials have already been conducted in human patients in the U.S. in which mesenchymal stem cells have been used to treat peripheral artery disease, these results with G-CSF and parathyroid hormone indicate that additional combinations of pharmaceuticals may further optimize patient improvement.