Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived via somatic cell reprogramming have been reported to reset aged somatic cells to a more youthful state, characterized by elongated telomeres, a rearranged mitochondrial network, reduced oxidative stress, and restored pluripotency. However, it is still unclear whether the reprogrammed aged somatic cells can function normally as embryonic stem cells (ESCs) during development and be rejuvenated. In the current study, we applied the aggregation technique to investigate whether iPSCs derived from aged somatic cells could develop normally and be rejuvenated. iPSCs derived from bone marrow myeloid cells of 2-month-old (2 M) and 18-month-old (18 M) C57BL/6-Tg (CAG-EGFP)1Osb/J mice were aggregated with embryos derived from wild-type ICR mice to produce chimeras (referred to as 2 M CA and 18 M CA, respectively). Our observations focused on comparing the ability of the iPSCs derived from 18 M and 2 M bone marrow cells to develop rejuvenated cardiac tissue (the heart is the most vital organ during aging). The results showed an absence of p16 and p53 upregulation, telomere length shortening, and mitochondrial gene expression and deletion in 18 M CA, whereas slight changes in mitochondrial ultrastructure, cytochrome C oxidase activity, ATP production, and reactive oxygen species production were observed in CA cardiac tissues. The data implied that all of the aging characteristics observed in the newborn cardiac tissue of 18 M CA were comparable with those of 2 M CA newborn cardiac tissue. This study provides the first direct evidence of the aging-related characteristics of cardiac tissue developed from aged iPSCs, and our observations demonstrate that partial rejuvenation can be achieved by reprogramming aged somatic cells to a pluripotent state.
Keywords: aging; cardiac tissue; mitochondria; reprogramming; telomere and telomerase.