Human mesenchymal stem cells manage oxidative stress

The transplant of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is a powerful source for the treatment of pathologies in which tissues of the organism are damaged due to oxidative stress, a process involved in many diseases, such as   atherosclerosis ,  myalgia encephalopathy ,  periodontitis , Alzheimer’s and aging due to the oxidation produced in the cells, and which contributes as one of those responsible for its deterioration and aging when it surpasses the limits established by the antioxidant mechanisms in an uncontrolled manner.

This produces a concentration of free radicals, a chemical species, defined and dangerous, characterized by its high reactivity and ability to form other free radicals by chemical chain reaction.

The objective of several studies is to assess whether MSCs can manage oxidative stress to the benefit of cells. To this end, the MSCs underwent different in vitro tests:

Exposure of MSCs to reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (hydrogen peroxide and S-Nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine) separately and combining them whose concentration was gradually increased to determine the viability of the cells in a chemical stress environment.

Subsequently, the levels of reactive species within the MSCs were measured.

The expression of genes and the activity of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase were analyzed in these cells, important enzymes for being natural defenses against oxidative stress and excess of free radicals.

Finally, the cells were deprived of glutathione, an antioxidant that helps protect the cells of reactive oxygen species, to observe the integrity and viability of the cells.

The final results showed that the MSCs have a great capacity of resistance to oxidative stress, observing in them low levels of reactive species in the internal compartments of the cells. Likewise, a low expression of protective enzymes to oxidative stress was found due to the little damage caused in the MSCs, but high levels of glutathione were found, which indicates that the cells remained in good condition throughout the experiment.

However, those cells inhibited from the production of glutathione, lost their ability to protect themselves in the presence of reactive species. Thus, MSCs in vitro proved to be able to cope with the damaging effects produced by reactive species that are normally found in the environment.

It is questioned if this capacity can be maintained in vivo, that is, within an organism, since in this way the cells could contribute in regenerating tissues by successfully regulating stress agents after a transplant by limiting their action.