STEM CELLS AND DEVELOPMENT, vol.21, no.11, pp.2000-2011, 2012 (SCI-Expanded)
Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) are the main cellular components of the bone marrow, providing a supportive cellular microenvironment to maintain healthy hematopoiesis. beta-thalassemia major (beta-TM) is characterized by anemia that is caused by a genetic defect in hemoglobin synthesis and results in ineffective erythropoiesis (IE). The alterations in the microenvironment in thalassemic bone marrow during IE can cause changes in BM-MSCs. This study aimed to investigate global structural and compositional changes in BM-MSCs in beta-TM that may provide a basis in understanding interactions of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs)-MSCs in such a pathological bone marrow microenvironment. Following characterization of morphological, immunophenotypical, and differentiation properties, the changes in healthy and thalassemic BM-MSCs before and after bone marrow transplantation (BMT) were examined by attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR). The significant increase in lipid, protein, glycogen, and nucleic acid contents in thalassemic BM-MSCs with respect to healthy BM-MSCs was attributed to enhanced cell proliferation and BM activity during IE. The significant decreases in the content of mentioned macromolecules in post-transplant group BM-MSCs versus pre-transplant BM-MSCs was interpreted as restoring effect of BMT therapy on IE and defective BM microenvironment. These alterations were also supported by ELISA results of erythropoietin (EPO) and growth differentiation factor (GDF15) in bone marrow plasma samples as a reflection of IE and by MTT proliferation assay on BM-MSCs. Based on these changes, sampling groups were discriminated by cluster analysis. These results provide information for the studies that concentrate on interactions between HSCs-MSCs in bone marrow.