Multiomics reveals glutathione metabolism as a driver of bimodality during stem cell aging

Cell Metab. 2023 Mar 7;35(3):472-486.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2023.02.001. Epub 2023 Feb 27.


With age, skeletal muscle stem cells (MuSCs) activate out of quiescence more slowly and with increased death, leading to defective muscle repair. To explore the molecular underpinnings of these defects, we combined multiomics, single-cell measurements, and functional testing of MuSCs from young and old mice. The multiomics approach allowed us to assess which changes are causal, which are compensatory, and which are simply correlative. We identified glutathione (GSH) metabolism as perturbed in old MuSCs, with both causal and compensatory components. Contrary to young MuSCs, old MuSCs exhibit a population dichotomy composed of GSHhigh cells (comparable with young MuSCs) and GSHlow cells with impaired functionality. Mechanistically, we show that antagonism between NRF2 and NF-κB maintains this bimodality. Experimental manipulation of GSH levels altered the functional dichotomy of aged MuSCs. These findings identify a novel mechanism of stem cell aging and highlight glutathione metabolism as an accessible target for reversing MuSC aging.

Keywords: GSH; MuSC; NAC; aging; bimodality; multiomics; satellite cells; stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Mice
  • Multiomics*
  • Muscle, Skeletal* / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / metabolism