Jesus, Catarina S. H. (Department of Chemistry, CICECO - Aveiro Institute of Materials (CICECO/UA), University of Aveiro)


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are in the frontline of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine because they have indefinite self-renewal potential, and also exhibit great multilineage differentiation into a variety of tissues such as such as bone, cartilage, and adipose1. In the field of bone tissue engineering, the osteogenesis of MSCs is a promising therapeutic target, and controlling their differentiation is of critical importance for improving traumatic bone healing and therapy for genetic bone diseases2-4. Although metabolomics has already contributed to some extent understanding of the osteogenic mechanism of MSCs5, studies on the role of lipids metabolism are still scarce6.
In this study, we monitored the lipid profile of human adipose-derived MSCs as a function of osteogenic differentiation times, using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) untargeted lipidomics strategy applied to MSCs. Samples were collected at different time points during 2D culturing in both control (undifferentiated) and in osteogenesis-inductive media. Changes in the lipid composition of human adipose-derived MSCs were interpreted in detail based on multivariate and univariate statistical approaches. Our 1H-NMR strategy detected various groups of lipids with statistically relevant changes throughout the whole 21-day period of osteogenic differentiation. These comprised phosphatidylcholine, sphingomyelin, phosphatidylethanolamine, plasmalogen, total fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids, as well as total, free and esterified cholesterol. These results may unveil potential osteogenesis-related lipid biomarkers, which are essential to provide a comprehensive picture of the MSCs differentiation metabolism.

  1. Bispo, D. S. C. et al., Stem Cell Rev. Reports 17 (6), 2003–2024 (2021).
  2. Lopes, D. et al., Biomaterials 185, 240–275 (2018).
  3. Oliveira, M. B. et al., Acta Biomaterialia 41, 119–132 (2016).
  4. Correia, C. R. et al., Sci Rep. 6, 21883 (2016).
  5. Bispo, D. S. C. et al., J Proteome Res, In Press, (2022).
  6. Silva, C. G. et al., Chem Phys Lipids 232, 104964, (2020).

Acknowledgements: We acknowledge the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) for co-funding the BIOIMPLANT project (PTDC/BTM-ORG/28835/2017) through the COMPETE2020 program and European Union fund FEDER (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-028835); CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials project (UIDB/50011/2020 & UIDP/50011/2020), financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC and when appropriate co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020. DSB acknowledges the Sociedade Portuguesa de Química and FCT for her PhD grant SFRH/BD/150655/2020. The NMR spectrometer used in this work is part of the National NMR Network, partially supported by Infrastructure Project Nº 022161 (co-financed by FEDER through COMPETE 2020, POCI and PORL and FCT through PIDDAC).


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