mTORC1 and mTORC2 play different roles in the functional survival of transplanted adipose-derived stromal cells in hind limb ischemic mice via regulating inflammation in vivo

Stem Cells. 2013 Jan;31(1):203-14. doi: 10.1002/stem.1265.


Poor cell survival severely limits the beneficial effects of stem cell therapy for peripheral arterial disease (PAD). This study was designed to investigate the role of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in the survival and therapeutic function of transplanted murine adipose-derived stromal cells (mADSCs) in a murine PAD model. mADSCs (1.0 × 10(7)) were isolated from dual-reporter firefly luciferase and enhanced green fluorescent protein-positive transgenic mice, intramuscularly implanted into the hind limb of C57BL/6 mice after femoral artery ligation/excision, and monitored using noninvasive bioluminescence imaging (BLI). Although engrafted mADSCs produced antiapoptotic/proangiogenic effects in vivo by modulating the inflammatory and angiogenic cytokine response involving the mTOR pathway, longitudinal BLI revealed progressive death of post-transplant mADSCs within ~4 weeks in the ischemic hind limb. Selectively targeting mTOR complex-1 (mTORC1) using low-dose rapamycin treatment with mADSCs attenuated proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin [IL]-1β and tumor necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-α]) expression and neutrophil/macrophage infiltration, which overtly promoted mADSCs viability and antiapoptotic/proangiogenic efficacy in vivo. However, targeting dual mTORC1/mTORC2 using PP242 or high-dose rapamycin caused IL-1β/TNF-α upregulation and anti-inflammatory IL-10, IL-6, and vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 downregulation, undermining the survival and antiapoptotic/proangiogenic action of mADSCs in vivo. Furthermore, low-dose rapamycin abrogated TNF-α secretion by mADSCs and rescued the cells from hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced death in vitro, while PP242 or high-dose rapamycin exerted proinflammatory effects and promoted cell death. In conclusion, mTORC1 and mTORC2 may differentially regulate inflammation and affect transplanted mADSCs' functional survival in ischemic hind limb. These findings uncover that mTOR may evolve into a promising candidate for mechanism-driven approaches to facilitate the translation of cell-based PAD therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Down-Regulation
  • Femoral Artery / surgery
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Hindlimb / blood supply
  • Hindlimb / metabolism
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-1beta / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Ischemia / metabolism*
  • Ischemia / surgery
  • Luciferases, Firefly / genetics
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 2
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / metabolism*
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / therapy
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism*
  • Stromal Cells / transplantation
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / drug effects
  • Up-Regulation
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 / biosynthesis
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors / biosynthesis


  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Interleukin-6
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Interleukin-10
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luciferases, Firefly
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 2
  • Sirolimus