Unique responses of stem cell-derived vascular endothelial and mesenchymal cells to high levels of glucose

Keats E, Khan ZA
Source: PLoS ONE
Publication Date: (2012)
Issue: 7(6): e38752
Research Area:
Basic Research
Cells used in publication:
Bone Marrow, Human, Unprocessed
Species: human
Tissue Origin: bone marrow
Endothelial, MV dermal blood, human neo
Species: human
Tissue Origin: dermal
Mononuclear, cord blood, human
Species: human
Tissue Origin: blood
Diabetes leads to complications in selected organ systems, and vascular endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction and loss is the key initiating and perpetuating step in the development of these complications. Experimental and clinical studies have shown that hyperglycemia leads to EC dysfunction in diabetes. Vascular stem cells that give rise to endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) represent an attractive target for cell therapy for diabetic patients. Whether these vascular stem/progenitor cells succumb to the adverse effects of high glucose remains unknown. We sought to determine whether adult vascular stem/progenitor cells display cellular activation and dysfunction upon exposure to high levels of glucose as seen in diabetic complications. Mononuclear cell fraction was prepared from adult blood and bone marrow. EPCs and MPCs were derived, characterized, and exposed to either normal glucose (5 mmol/L) or high glucose levels (25 mmol/L). We then assayed for cell activity and molecular changes following both acute and chronic exposure to high glucose. Our results show that high levels of glucose do not alter the derivation of either EPCs or MPCs. The adult blood-derived EPCs were also resistant to the effects of glucose in terms of growth. Acute exposure to high glucose levels increased caspase-3 activity in EPCs (1.4x increase) and mature ECs (2.3x increase). Interestingly, MPCs showed a transient reduction in growth upon glucose challenge. Our results also show that glucose skews the differentiation of MPCs towards the adipocyte lineage while suppressing other mesenchymal lineages. In summary, our studies show that EPCs are resistant to the effects of high levels of glucose, even following chronic exposure. The findings further show that hyperglycemia may have detrimental effects on the MPCs, causing reduced growth and altering the differentiation potential.