Age-related changes in mesenchymal stem cells derived from rhesus macaque bone marrow

Ji Min Yu, Xiying Wu, Jeffrey M. Gimble, Xiaoyan Guan, Michael A. Freitas, Bruce A. Bunnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


The regeneration potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) diminishes with advanced age and this diminished potential is associated with changes in cellular functions. This study compared MSCs isolated from the bone marrow of rhesus monkeys (rBMSCs) in three age groups: young (< 5 years), middle (8-10 years), and old (> 12 years). The effects of aging on stem cell properties and indicators of stem cell fitness such as proliferation, differentiation, circadian rhythms, stress response proteins, miRNA expression, and global histone modifications in rBMSCs were analyzed. rBMSCs demonstrated decreased capacities for proliferation and differentiation as a function of age. The production of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) and heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) were also reduced with increasing age. The level of a core circadian protein, Rev-erb α, was significantly increased in rBMSCs from old animals. Furthermore, analysis of miRNA expression profiles revealed an up-regulation of mir-766 and mir-558 and a down-regulation of mir-let-7f, mir-125b, mir-222, mir-199-3p, mir-23a, and mir-221 in old rBMSCs compare to young rBMSCs. However, there were no significant age-related changes in the global histone modification profiles of the four histone core proteins: H2A, H2B, H3, and H4 on rBMSCs. These changes represent novel insights into the aging process and could have implications regarding the potential for autologous stem cells therapy in older patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-79
Number of pages14
JournalAging cell
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Aging
  • Cell cycle
  • Differentiation
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • MiRNA
  • Non-human primate


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