Rapamycin Inhibits Senescence and Improves Immunomodulatory Function of Mesenchymal Stem Cells Through IL-8 and TGF-β Signaling

An interesting new direction in rapamycin research:

Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) grown in high-density monolayers (sheets) are promising vehicles for numerous bioengineering applications. When MSC sheets are maintained in prolonged cultures, they undergo rapid senescence, limiting their downstream efficacy. Although rapamycin is a potential agent that can inhibit senescence in cell cultures, no study has investigated rapamycin’s effect on MSCs grown in high-density culture and its effect on downstream target gene expression. In this study, placental-derived MSCs (PMSCs) were seeded at high density to generate PMSC sheets in 24 hours and were then treated with rapamycin or vehicle for up to 7 days. Autophagy activity, cell senescence and apoptosis, cell size and granularity, and senescence-associated cytokines (IL-6 and IL-8) were analyzed. Differential response in gene expression were assessed via microarray analysis. Rapamycin significantly increased PMSC sheet autophagy activity, inhibited cellular senescence, decreased cell size and granularity at all timepoints. Rapamycin also significantly decreased the number of cells in late apoptosis at day 7 of sheet culture, as well as caspase 3/7 activity at all timepoints. Notably, while rapamycin decreased IL-6 secretion, increased IL-8 levels were observed at all timepoints. Microarray analysis further confirmed the upregulation of IL-8 transcription, as well as provided a list of 396 genes with 2-fold differential expression, where transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling were identified as important upregulated pathways. Rapamycin both decreased senescence and has an immunomodulatory action of PMSCs grown in sheet culture, which will likely improve the chemotaxis of pro-healing cells to sites of tissue repair in future bioengineering applications


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