Aging-Related Reduced Expression of CXCR4 on Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Contributes to Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cell Defects.

Aging impairs the regenerative potential of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and skews differentiation towards the myeloid lineage.

The bone marrow (BM) microenvironment has recently been suggested to influence HSC aging, however the mechanisms whereby BM stromal cells mediate this effect is unknown. Here we show that aging-associated decreased expression of CXCR4 expression on BM mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) plays a crucial role in the development of the hematopoietic stem and progenitorcells (HSPC) aging phenotype.

The BM MSC from old mice was sufficient to drive a premature aging phenotype of young HSPC when cultured together ex vivo. The impaired ability of old MSC to support HSPC function is associated with reduced expression of CXCR4 on BM MSC of old mice. Deletion of the CXCR4 gene in young MSC accelerates an aging phenotype in these cells characterized by increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), DNA damage, senescence, and reduced proliferation.

Culture of HSPC from young mice with CXCR4 deficient MSC also from young mice led to a premature aging phenotype in the young HSPC, as evidenced by reduced hematopoietic regeneration and enhanced myeloid differentiation.

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Mechanistically, CXCR4 signaling prevents BM MSC dysfunction by suppressing oxidative stress, as treatment of old or CXCR4 deficient MSC with N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), improved their niche supporting activity, and attenuated the HSPC aging phenotype. Our studies suggest that age-associated reduction in CXCR4 expression on BM MSC impairs hematopoietic niche activity with increased ROS production, driving an HSC aging phenotype. Thus, modulation of the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis in MSC may lead to novel interventions to alleviate the age-associated decline in immune/hematopoietic function.

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