Enhancement of mitochondrial transfer by antioxidants in human mesenchymal stem cells Meng-Yu Wu1,2, Chia-Jung Li3* 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, New Taipei 231; 2Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Tzu Chi University, Hualien 970, Taiwan; 3Research Assistant Center, Show Chwan Memorial Hospital, Changhua 500, Taiwan
Excessive reactive oxygen species is the major component of a harsh microenvironment after ischemia/reperfusion injury in human tissues. Combined treatment of N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) and L-ascorbic acid 2-phosphate (AAP) promoted the growth of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and suppressed oxidative stress-induced cell death by enhancing mitochondrial integrity and function in vitro. In this study, we aimed to determine whether NAC and AAP (termed MCA) could enhance the therapeutic potential of hMSCs. We established a coculture system consisting of MCA-treated and H2O2-treated hMSCs and investigated the role of tunneling nanotubes (TNTs) in the exchange of mitochondria between the 2 cell populations. The consequences of mitochondria exchange were assessed by fluorescence confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. The results showed that MCA could increase the mitochondrial mass, respiratory capacity, and numbers of TNTs in hMSCs. The “energized” mitochondria were transferred to the injured hMSCs via TNTs, the oxidative stress was decreased, and the mitochondrial membrane potential of the H2O2-treated hMSCs was stabilized. The transfer of mitochondria decreased the expression of S616-phosphorylated dynamin-related protein 1, a protein that dictates the fragmentation/fission of mitochondria. Concurrently, MCA also enhanced mitophagy in the coculture system, implicating that damaged mitochondria were eliminated in order to maintain cell physiology.
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