PloS one

IGFBP2 enhances adipogenic differentiation potentials of mesenchymal stem cells from Wharton's jelly of the umbilical cord via JNK and Akt signaling pathways.

PMID 28859160


Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-mediated tissue engineering represents a promising strategy to address adipose tissue defects. MSCs derived from Wharton's jelly of the umbilical cord (WJCMSCs) may serve as an ideal source for adipose tissue engineering due to their abundance, safety profile, and accessibility. How to activate the directed differentiation potentials of WJCMSCs is the core point for their clinical applications. A thorough investigation of mechanisms involved in WJCMSC adipogenic differentiation is necessary to support their application in adipose tissue engineering and address shortcomings. Previous study showed, compared with periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs), WJCMSCs had a weakened adipogenic differentiation potentials and lower expression of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGFBP2). IGFBP2 may be involved in the adipogenesis of MSCs. Generally, IGFBP2 is involved in regulating biological activity of insulin-like growth factors, however, its functions in human MSCs are unclear. Here, we found IGFBP2 expression was upregulated upon adipogenic induction, and that IGFBP2 enhanced adipogenic differentiation of WJCMSCs and BMSCs. Moreover, IGFBP2 increased phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (p-JNK) and p-Akt, and activated JNK or Akt signaling significantly promoted adipogenic differentiation of MSCs. Furthermore, inhibitor-mediated blockage of either JNK or Akt signaling dramatically reduced IGFBP2-mediated adipogenic differentiation. And the JNK inhibitor, SP600125 markedly blocked IGFBP2-mediated Akt activation. Moreover, IGFBP2 was negatively regulated by BCOR, which inhibited adipogenic differentiation of WJCMSCs. Overall, our results reveal a new function of IGFBP2, providing a novel insight into the mechanism of adipogenic differentiation and identifying a potential target mediator for improving adipose tissue engineering based on WJCMSCs.

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