Stabilin-1 and stabilin-2 have been identified as scavenging receptors in sinusoidal capillaries in some tissues, including liver and spleen. They function as endocytic receptors for SPARC and hyaluronan, respectively, and for several other ligands. In the present study, we show by real-time PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry that bone marrow (BM) sinusoidal endothelial cells (SECs) ubiquitously express stabilin-1 and stabilin-2. To test the ability of BM SECs to function as a scavenging endothelium, we analyzed the uptake of specific scavenger receptor ligands after intravenous injection. Accumulation of TRITC labelled formaldehyde-treated serum albumin (FSA) was observed one hour after the injection in the BM SECs. Injection of unlabelled FSA together with TRITC-FSA reduced the fluorescence in the SECs, indicating that the uptake was due to specific recognition of FSA. Likewise, FITC-conjugated advanced glycation end products (AGEs)-modified BSA accumulated in BM SECs. These two ligands are primarily cleared by the stabilins. These results suggested that bone marrow SECs have a scavenging function. Stabilin-2 has been identified as a major receptor for hyaluronan. Hyaluronan is synthesized by primitive hematopoietic cells and has been shown to influence stem and progenitor (HSPC) functions, including mobilization and homing into BM (

Nilsson et al.,
). Consequently, it is possible that adhesion of hyaluronan on HSPCs to stabilin-2 is a recognition mechanism in BM SECs, directing circulating HSPCs into BM. To investigate this, we studied adhesion of mouse BM lin-Sca-1+Kit+ (LSK) HSPCs to stabilin-1 or stabilin-2 transfected human embryonic kidney cells (HEK 293 cells). We found increased adhesion of LSK cells to stabilin-2 expressing cells, as compared to stabilin-1 expressing or non-transfected cells. Notably, hyaluronidase treatment abolished the increased adhesion of the LSK cell to stabilin-2 transfected cells. These findings indicate that stabilin-2 mediates adhesion of HSPCs to bone marrow SECs. In conclusion, this study shows a novel function for BM SECs as a scavenging endothelium expressing stabilin-1 and stabilin-2. The specific function of stabilins in recognition and endocytosis of extracellular matrix molecules, including hyaluronan and SPARC (
Kzhyshkowska J et al.,
J Cell Mol Med.
), suggests that these receptors are involved in tissue remodelling and cell trafficking in BM. Importantly, hyaluronan-mediated binding of HSPCs to SEC stabilin-2 may be a specific recognition mechanism for HSPCs in BM sinusoids. Similarly, binding of tumour cell-associated hyaluronan by stabilin-2 might cause tumour cells in blood to halt in bone marrow, thereby increasing the likelihood for metastasis at this site.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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