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PLoS One. 2015 Mar 16;10(3):e0120219. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120219. eCollection 2015.

Effects of iron overload on the bone marrow microenvironment in mice.

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Department of Hematology, Tianjin First Central Hospital, Tianjin, China.
Department of Stem Cells Transplantation, Blood Disease Hospital of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Tianjin, China.
Key Lab of Radiation Medicine and Molecular Nuclear Medicine, Institute of Radiation Medicine, Academy of Medical Science and Peking Union Medical College, Tianjin, China.
Department of Hematology, Affiliated Hospital of Logistics University of People's Armed Police Force, Tianjin, China.



Using a mouse model, Iron Overload (IO) induced bone marrow microenvironment injury was investigated, focusing on the involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS).


Mice were intraperitoneally injected with iron dextran (12.5, 25, or 50 mg) every three days for two, four, and six week durations. Deferasirox(DFX)125 mg/ml and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) 40 mM were co-administered. Then, bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) were isolated and assessed for proliferation and differentiation ability, as well as related gene changes. Immunohistochemical analysis assessed the expression of haematopoietic chemokines. Supporting functions of BM-MSCs were studied by co-culture system.


In IO condition (25 mg/ml for 4 weeks), BM-MSCs exhibited proliferation deficiencies and unbalanced osteogenic/adipogenic differentiation. The IO BM-MSCs showed a longer double time (2.07±0.14 days) than control (1.03±0.07 days) (P<0.05). The immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1, stem cell factor -1, and vascular endothelial growth factor-1 expression were decreased. The co-cultured system demonstrated that bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMNCs) co-cultured with IO BM-MSCs had decreased colony forming unit (CFU) count (p<0.01), which indicates IO could lead to decreased hematopoietic supporting functions of BM-MSCs. This effect was associated with elevated phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K) and reduced of Forkhead box protein O3 (FOXO3) mRNA expression, which could induce the generation of ROS. Results also demonstrated that NAC or DFX treatment could partially attenuate cell injury and inhibit signaling pathway striggered by IO.


These results demonstrated that IO can impair the bone marrow microenvironment, including the quantity and quality of BM-MSCs.

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