The role of growth factors in maintenance of stemness in bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells

Young Woo Eom, Ji Eun Oh, Jong In Lee, Soon Koo Baik, Ki Jong Rhee, Ha Cheol Shin, Yong Man Kim, Chan Mug Ahn, Jee Hyun Kong, Hyun Soo Kim, Kwang Yong Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are an active topic of research in regenerative medicine due to their ability to secrete a variety of growth factors and cytokines that promote healing of damaged tissues and organs. In addition, these secreted growth factors and cytokines have been shown to exert an autocrine effect by regulating MSC proliferation and differentiation. We found that expression of EGF, FGF-4 and HGF were down-regulated during serial passage of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs). Proliferation and differentiation potentials of BMSCs treated with these growth factors for 2 months were evaluated and compared to BMSCs treated with FGF-2, which increased proliferation of BMSCs. FGF-2 and -4 increased proliferation potentials at high levels, about 76- and 26-fold, respectively, for 2 months, while EGF and HGF increased proliferation of BMSCs by less than 2.8-fold. Interestingly, differentiation potential, especially adipogenesis, was maintained only by HGF treatment. Treatment with FGF-2 rapidly induced activation of AKT and later induced ERK activation. The basal level of phosphorylated ERK increased during serial passage of BMSCs treated with FGF-2. The expression of LC3-II, an autophagy marker, was gradually increased and the population of senescent cells was increased dramatically at passage 7 in non-treated controls. But FGF-2 and FGF-4 suppressed LC3-II expression and down-regulated senescent cells during long-term (i.e. 2 month) cultures. Taken together, depletion of growth factors during serial passage could induce autophagy, senescence and down-regulation of stemness (proliferation via FGF-2/-4 and differentiation via HGF) through suppression of AKT and ERK signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb 28

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2012R1A1A2004981).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of growth factors in maintenance of stemness in bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this