Gene Expression Profile of Human Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Exposed to Hypoxic and Pseudohypoxic Preconditioning-An Analysis by RNA Sequencing

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jul 29;22(15):8160. doi: 10.3390/ijms22158160.


Mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) therapy is making its way into clinical practice, accompanied by research into strategies improving their therapeutic potential. Preconditioning MSCs with hypoxia-inducible factors-α (HIFα) stabilizers is an alternative to hypoxic priming, but there remains insufficient data evaluating its transcriptomic effect. Herein, we determined the gene expression profile of 6 human bone marrow-derived MSCs preconditioned for 6 h in 2% O2 (hypoxia) or with 40 μM Vadadustat, compared to control cells and each other. RNA-Sequencing was performed using the Illumina platform, quality control with FastQC and adapter-trimming with BBDUK2. Transcripts were mapped to the Homo_sapiens. GRCh37 genome and converted to relative expression using Salmon. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were generated using DESeq2 while functional enrichment was performed in GSEA and g:Profiler. Comparison of hypoxia versus control resulted in 250 DEGs, Vadadustat versus control 1071, and Vadadustat versus hypoxia 1770. The terms enriched in both phenotypes referred mainly to metabolism, in Vadadustat additionally to vesicular transport, chromatin modifications and interaction with extracellular matrix. Compared with hypoxia, Vadadustat upregulated autophagic, phospholipid metabolism, and TLR cascade genes, downregulated those of cytoskeleton and GG-NER pathway and regulated 74 secretory factor genes. Our results provide valuable insight into the transcriptomic effects of these two methods of MSCs preconditioning.

Keywords: HIF-1α; MSCs; PHDs inhibitor; RNA-Seq; Vadadustat; hypoxic priming; mesenchymal stem cells; transcriptional regulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Hypoxia*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Picolinic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Transcriptome


  • Picolinic Acids
  • vadadustat
  • Glycine