Dissecting molecular mechanisms underlying H2O2-induced apoptosis of mouse bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell: role of Mst1 inhibition

Qian Zhang, Xianfeng Cheng, Haizhou Zhang, Tao Zhang, Zhengjun Wang, Wenlong Zhang, Wancheng Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell (BM-MSC) has been shown to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). However, excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) increases the apoptosis of BM-MSCs, leading to poor survival and engraft efficiency. Thus, improving the ability of BM-MSCs to scavenge ROS may considerably enhance the effectiveness of transplantation therapy. Mammalian Ste20-like kinase 1 (Mst1) is a pro-apoptotic molecule which increases ROS production. The aim of this study is to uncover the underlying mechanisms the effect of Mst1 inhibition on the tolerance of BM-MSCs under H2O2 condition. Methods: Mst1 expression in BM-MSCs was inhibited via transfection with adenoviruses expressing a short hairpin (sh) RNA directed against Mst1 (Ad-sh-Mst1) and exposure to H2O2. Cell viability was detected by Cell Counting Kit 8 (CCK-8) assay, and cell apoptosis was analyzed by Annexin V-FITC/PI, Caspase 3 Activity Assay kits, and pro caspase 3 expression. ROS level was evaluated by the ROS probe DCFH-DA, mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) assay, SOD1/2, CAT, and GPx expression. Autophagy was assessed using transmission electron microscopy, stubRFP-sensGFP-LC3 lentivirus, and autophagy-related protein expression. The autophagy/Keap1/Nrf2 signal in H2O2-treated BM-MSC/sh-Mst1 was also measured. Results: Mst1 inhibition reduced ROS production; increased antioxidant enzyme SOD1/2, CAT, and GPx expression; maintained ΔΨm; and alleviated cell apoptosis in H2O2-treated BM-MSCs. In addition, this phenomenon was closely correlated with the autophagy/Keap1/Nrf2 signal pathway. Moreover, the antioxidant pathway Keap1/Nrf2 was also blocked when autophagy was inhibited by the autophagy inhibitor 3-MA. However, Keap1 or Nrf2 knockout via siRNA had no effect on autophagy activation or suppression. Conclusion: Mst1 inhibition mediated the cytoprotective action of mBM-MSCs against H2O2-induced oxidative stress injury. The underlying mechanisms involve autophagy activation and the Keap1/Nrf2 signal pathway. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number526
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Autophagy
  • Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell
  • Cell apoptosis
  • Mst1
  • Reactive oxygen species


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