Background: Cell therapy for degenerative diseases aims at rescuing tissue damage by delivery of precursor cells. Thus far, this strategy has been mostly unsuccessful due to massive loss of donor cells shortly after transplantation. Several strategies have been applied to increase transplanted cell survival but only with limited success. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an organelle involved in protein folding, calcium homeostasis, and lipid biosynthesis. Protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) is a molecular chaperone induced and activated by ER stress. PDI is induced by hypoxia in neuronal, cardiac, and endothelial cells, supporting increased cell survival to hypoxic stress and protection from apoptosis in response to ischemia.