Stem Cells Dev 21:1418 (2012)

Tumor-Conditioned Mesenchymal Stem Cells Display Hematopoietic Differentiation and Diminished Influ of Ca2+.

Zhang L1, Tang A, Zhou Y, Tang J, Luo Z, Jiang C, Li X, Xiang J, Li G.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that are present in many adult tissues can generate new cells either continuously or in response to injury/cancer. An increasing number of studies demonstrated that MSCs have the ability to differentiate into cells of mesodermal origin and transdifferentiate into cells such as hepatocytes, neural cells. There has been growing interest in the application of MSCs to cancer therapy. The relationship between MSCs and cancer cells remains highly controversial. In this study, we analyzed the interaction of bone marrow-derived MSCs and cancer cells by cell-cell contact and transwell culture system. The flow cytometry and real-time polymerase chain reaction showed that after coculture of MSCs and cancer cells, MSCs displayed the hematopoietic cell markers such as CD34, CD45, and CD11b. The CD68, MRCI, and CSF1R were dramatically upregulated after coculture. The cytokine array showed that MSCs after coculture secreted monokines and chemokines much more than that of intact MSCs. The MSCs under tumor conditions were responsive to stimulation with lipopolysaccharide by cytokines release. The tumor-conditioned MSCs showed phagocytic ability and enhanced release of nitric oxide, which are the characteristics of macrophages. Calcium ion is an important intracellular messenger responsible for differentiation and gene expression regulations. The influx of Ca(2+) into MSCs was obviously reduced after coculture. The blocking of calcium channel with verapamil obviously increased the expression of CD34, CD45, and CD11b, thus indicating that the diminished calcium ion influx is coupled with the hematopoietic differentiation of MSCs under tumor conditions. Taken together, in a cancer environment, MSCs could effectively differentiate into immune hematopoietic cells, precisely macrophages. Diminished transient influx of Ca(2+) may mediate the hematopoietic differentiation of MSCs.

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