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Open Access Production of Reactive Oxygen Species by Multipotent Stromal Cells/Mesenchymal Stem Cells Upon Exposure to Fas Ligand

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Multipotent stromal cells (MSCs) can be differentiated into osteoblasts and chondrocytes, making these cells candidates to regenerate cranio-facial injuries and lesions in long bones. A major problem with cell replacement therapy, however, is the loss of transplanted MSCs at the site of graft. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nonspecific inflammation generated at the ischemic site have been hypothesized to lead to MSCs loss; studies in vitro show MSCs dying both in the presence of ROS or cytokines like FasL. We questioned whether MSCs themselves may be the source of these death inducers, specifically whether MSCs produce ROS under cytokine challenge. On treating MSCs with FasL, we observed increased ROS production within 2 h, leading to apoptotic death after 6 h of exposure to the cytokine. N-acetyl cysteine, an antioxidant, is able to protect MSCs from FasL-induced ROS production and subsequent ROS-dependent apoptosis, though the MSCs eventually succumb to ROS-independent death signaling. Epidermal growth factor (EGF), a cell survival factor, is able to protect cells from FasL-induced ROS production initially; however, the protective effect wanes with continued FasL exposure. In parallel, FasL induces upregulation of the uncoupling protein UCP2, the main uncoupling protein in MSCs, which is not abrogated by EGF; however, the production of ROS is followed by a delayed apoptotic cell death despite moderation by UCP2. FasL-induced ROS activates the stress-induced MAPK pathways JNK and p38MAPK as well as ERK, along with the activation of Bad, a proapoptotic protein, and suppression of survivin, an antiapoptotic protein; the latter two key modulators of the mitochondrial death pathway. FasL by itself also activates its canonical extrinsic death pathway noted by a time-dependent degradation of c-FLIP and activation of caspase 8. These data suggest that MSCs participate in their own demise due to nonspecific inflammation, holding implications for replacement therapies.

Keywords: Marrow stromal cells; Mesenchymal stem cells; Multipotent stem cells; Multipotent stromal cells; Reactive oxygen species (ROS)

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Publication date: 2012-10-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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