The increase in adipocytes induced by chemotherapeutic drugs may play a negative role in hematopoietic recovery. However, the mechanism underlying adipocyte differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in hematopoietic stress is still unknown. Hence, the involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in adipocyte differentiation under hematopoietic stress was investigated in vitro and in vivo.
The roles of cellular ROS in adipogenesis were investigated in vivo through an adipocyte hyperplasia marrow model under hematopoietic stress induced by arabinosylcytosine (Ara-C) and in vitro via adipocyte differentiation of human MSCs. ROS levels were detected using the CM-H 2DCFDA probe and Mito-SOX dye. Adipogenesis was evaluated by histopathology and oil red O staining, whereas detection of mRNA levels of antioxidant enzymes and adipogenesis markers was performed using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis.
ROS were found to play an important role in regulating adipocyte differentiation of MSCs by activating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ,) while the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine acts through ROS to inhibit adipocyte differentiation. The elevated ROS levels induced by Ara-C were caused by both over-generation of mitochondrial ROS and reduction of antioxidant enzymes (Cu/Zn Superoxide dismutase and catalase). Our findings suggest that a mitochondrial-targeted antioxidant could diminish adipocyte differentiation.