Identification of new genes associated to senescent and tumorigenic phenotypes in mesenchymal stem cells

Sci Rep. 2017 Dec 19;7(1):17837. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-16224-5.


Although human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are a powerful tool for cell therapy, prolonged culture times result in replicative senescence or acquisition of tumorigenic features. To identify a molecular signature for senescence, we compared the transcriptome of senescent and young hMSCs with normal karyotype (hMSCs/n) and with a constitutional inversion of chromosome 3 (hMSC/inv). Senescent and young cells from both lineages showed differentially expressed genes (DEGs), with higher levels in senescent hMSCs/inv. Among the 30 DEGs in senescent hMSC/inv, 11 are new candidates for biomarkers of cellular senescence. The functional categories most represented in senescent hMSCs were related to cellular development, cell growth/proliferation, cell death, cell signaling/interaction, and cell movement. Mapping of DEGs onto biological networks revealed matrix metalloproteinase-1, thrombospondin 1, and epidermal growth factor acting as topological bottlenecks. In the comparison between senescent hMSCs/n and senescent hMSCs/inv, other functional annotations such as segregation of chromosomes, mitotic spindle formation, and mitosis and proliferation of tumor lines were most represented. We found that many genes categorized into functional annotations related to tumors in both comparisons, with relation to tumors being highest in senescent hMSCs/inv. The data presented here improves our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of cellular senescence as well as tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics*
  • Cell Death / genetics
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics*
  • Chromosome Segregation / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 3 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Mitosis / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation / methods
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Biomarkers