Hypoxic preconditioning induces epigenetic changes and modifies swine mesenchymal stem cell angiogenesis and senescence in experimental atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis

Busra Isik, Roman Thaler, Busra B. Goksu, Sabena M. Conley, Hayder Al-Khafaji, Arjunmohan Mohan, Mohsen Afarideh, Abdelrhman M. Abumoawad, Xiang Y. Zhu, James D. Krier, Ishran M. Saadiq, Hui Tang, Alfonso Eirin, La Tonya J. Hickson, Andre J. van Wijnen, Stephen C. Textor, Lilach O. Lerman, Sandra M. Herrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (ARAS) is a risk factor for ischemic and hypertensive kidney disease (HKD) for which autologous mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) appears to be a promising therapy. However, MSCs from ARAS patients exhibit impaired function, senescence, and DNA damage, possibly due to epigenetic mechanisms. Hypoxia preconditioning (HPC) exerts beneficial effects on cellular proliferation, differentiation, and gene and protein expression. We hypothesized that HPC could influence MSC function and senescence in ARAS by epigenetic mechanisms and modulating gene expression of chromatin-modifying enzymes. Methods: Adipose-derived MSC harvested from healthy control (N = 8) and ARAS (N = 8) pigs were cultured under normoxia (20%O2) or hypoxia (1%O2) conditions. MSC function was assessed by migration, proliferation, and cytokine release in conditioned media. MSC senescence was evaluated by SA-β-gal activity. Specific pro-angiogenic and senescence genes were assessed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Dot blotting was used to measure global genome 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) levels on DNA and Western blotting of modified histone 3 (H3) proteins to quantify tri-methylated lysine-4 (H3K4me3), lysine-9 (H3K9me3), and lysine-27 (H3K27me3) residues. Results: Specific pro-angiogenic genes in ARAS assessed by RT-PCR were lower at baseline but increased under HPC, while pro-senescence genes were higher in ARAS at baseline as compared healthy MSCs. ARAS MSCs under basal conditions, displayed higher H3K4me3, H3K27me3, and 5hmC levels compared to healthy MSCs. During HPC, global 5hmC levels were decreased while no appreciable changes occurred in histone H3 tri-methylation. ARAS MSCs cultured under HPC had higher migratory and proliferative capacity as well as increased vascular endothelial growth factor and epidermal growth factor expression compared to normoxia, and SA-β-gal activity decreased in both animal groups. Conclusions: These data demonstrate that swine ARAS MSCs have decreased angiogenesis and increased senescence compared to healthy MSCs and that HPC mitigates MSC dysfunction, senescence, and DNA hydroxymethylation in ARAS MSC. Thus, HPC for MSCs may be considered for their optimization to improve autologous cell therapy in patients with nephropathies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number240
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Adipose mesenchymal stromal cells
  • Angiogenesis
  • Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis
  • Chromatin organization
  • Epigenetics
  • Hydroxymethylation
  • Hypoxia
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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