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 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.
- NAD redox cycle
- adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells
- immune phenotype
- replicative senescence