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Title: In Vitro Culture Expansion Shifts the Immune Phenotype of Human Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Human mesenchymal stem or stromal cells (hMSCs) are known for their potential in regenerative medicine due to their differentiation abilities, secretion of trophic factors, and regulation of immune responses in damaged tissues. Due to the limited quantity of hMSCs typically isolated from bone marrow, other tissue sources, such as adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hASCs), are considered a promising alternative. However, differences have been observed for hASCs in the context of metabolic characteristics and response to in vitro culture stress compared to bone marrow derived hMSCs (BM-hMSCs). In particular, the relationship between metabolic homeostasis and stem cell functions, especially the immune phenotype and immunomodulation of hASCs, remains unknown. This study thoroughly assessed the changes in metabolism, redox cycles, and immune phenotype of hASCs during in vitro expansion. In contrast to BM-hMSCs, hASCs did not respond to culture stress significantly during expansion as limited cellular senescence was observed. Notably, hASCs exhibited the increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the decreased secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines after extended culture expansion. The NAD+/NADH redox cycle and other metabolic characteristics associated with aging were relatively stable, indicating that hASC functional decline may be regulated through an alternative mechanism rather than NAD+/Sirtuin aging pathways as observed more » in BM-hMSCs. Furthermore, transcriptome analysis by mRNA-sequencing revealed the upregulation of genes for pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines and the downregulation of genes for anti-inflammatory cytokines for hASCs at high passage. Proteomics analysis indicated key pathways (e.g., tRNA charging, EIF2 signaling, protein ubiquitination pathway) that may be associated with the immune phenotype shift of hASCs. Together, this study advances our understanding of the metabolism and senescence of hASCs and may offer vital insights for the biomanufacturing of hASCs for clinical use. « less
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Frontiers in Immunology
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National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) promote endogenous tissue regeneration and have become a promising candidate for cell therapy. However, in vitro culture expansion of hMSCs induces a rapid decline of stem cell properties through replicative senescence. Here, we characterize metabolic profiles of hMSCs during expansion. We show that alterations of cellular nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD + /NADH) redox balance and activity of the Sirtuin (Sirt) family enzymes regulate cellular senescence of hMSCs. Treatment with NAD + precursor nicotinamide increases the intracellular NAD + level and re-balances the NAD + /NADH ratio, with enhanced Sirt-1 activity in hMSCs at high passage, partially restores mitochondrial fitness and rejuvenates senescent hMSCs. By contrast, human fibroblasts exhibit limited senescence as their cellular NAD + /NADH balance is comparatively stable during expansion. These results indicate a potential metabolic and redox connection to replicative senescence in adult stem cells and identify NAD + as a metabolic regulator that distinguishes stem cells from mature cells. This study also suggests potential strategies to maintain cellular homeostasis of hMSCs in clinical applications.

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