Resident/endogenous mesenchymal stromal cells function to promote the normal development, growth, and repair of tissues. Following premature birth, the effects of routine neonatal care (e.g. oxygen support and mechanical ventilation) on the biological properties of lung endogenous mesenchymal stromal cells is (L-MSCs) is poorly understood. New Zealand white preterm rabbits were randomized into the following groups: (i) sacrificed at birth (Fetal), (ii) spontaneously breathing with 50% O2 for 4 hours (SB), or (iii) mechanical ventilation with 50% O2 for 4h (MV). At time of necropsy, L-MSCs were isolated, characterized, and compared. L-MSCs isolated from the MV group had decreased differentiation capacity, ability to form stem cell colonies, and expressed less vascular endothelial growth factor mRNA. Compared to Fetal L-MSCs, 98 and 458 genes were differentially expressed in the L-MSCs derived from the SB and MV groups, respectively. Gene ontology analysis revealed these genes were involved in key regulatory processes including cell cycle, cell division, and angiogenesis. Furthermore, the L-MSCs from the SB and MV groups had smaller mitochondria, nuclear changes, and distended endoplasmic reticula. Short-term hyperoxia/mechanical ventilation after birth alters the biological properties of L-MSCs and stimulates genomic changes that may impact their reparative potential.
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