Proteomic Profiling of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Responses to Mechanical Strain and TGF-beta1

Cell Mol Bioeng. 2009 Dec;2(4):606-614. doi: 10.1007/s12195-009-0090-6. Epub 2009 Oct 24.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a potential source of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) for constructing tissue-engineered vascular grafts. However, the details of how specific combinations of vascular microenvironmental factors regulate MSCs are not well understood. Previous studies have suggested that both mechanical stimulation with uniaxial cyclic strain and chemical stimulation with transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) can induce smooth muscle markers in MSCs. In this study, we investigated the combined effects of uniaxial cyclic strain and TGF-beta1 stimulation on MSCs. By using a proteomic analysis, we found differential regulation of several proteins and genes, such as the up-regulation of TGF-beta1-induced protein ig-h3 (BGH3) protein levels by TGF-beta1 and up-regulation of calponin 3 protein level by cyclic strain. At the gene expression level, BGH3 was induced by TGF-beta1, but calponin 3 was not significantly regulated by mechanical strain or TGF-beta1, which was in contrast to the synergistic up-regulation of calponin 1 gene expression by cyclic strain and TGF-beta1. Further experiments with cycloheximide treatment suggested that the up-regulation of calponin 3 by cyclic strain was at post-transcriptional level. The results in this study suggest that both mechanical stimulation and TGF-beta1 signaling play unique and important roles in the regulation of MSCs at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, and that a precise combination of microenvironmental cues may promote MSC differentiation.