Thymoquinone influences the expression of genes involved in self-renewal and immunomodulatory potential of mouse bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in vitro.
Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2018 Jun ;60:216-224. Epub 2018 May 7. PMID: 29763882
Thymoquinone (TQ) is an active ingredient of some medicinal herbs. Despite extensive studies on the biological and pharmacological properties of TQ, its effect on the characteristics of stem cells remains to be clarified. Therefore, this study was aimed to investigate the effect of TQ on viability, proliferation and immunomodulatory potential of mouse bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) in vitro. The BM-MSCs were isolated from young NMRI mice. The cytotoxic effect of TQ on the BM-MSCs was evaluated using MTT assay. Then, the effect of TQ on the proliferation of BM-MSCs and the mRNA expression of genes involved in self-renewal and immunomodulatory potential of MSCs was assessed by the cell counting and real-time PCR assays. Results showed that TQ reduces the number of BM-MSCs in a dose- and time-dependent manner. In addition, the half-maximal inhibitory concentration values of TQ on the BM-MSCs were 8μg/ml at 24h and 4 μg/ml at 48 and 72h after treatment. Furthermore, about 90% of the BM-MSCs were alive after treatment with concentrations ≤2 μg/ml of TQ for 24h. The results of cell counting assay indicated that TQ at concentrations of 1-2 μg/ml significantly enhanced the proliferation of BM-MSCs (P<0.05). The gene expression analysis also showed that Tlr3, Tlr4, Ccl2, Ccl3, Sox2, and Rex1 are overexpressed (Fold change≥1.5) in the TQ-treated BM-MSCs compared with the untreated samples. In conclusion, these findings propose that TQ may regulate self-renewal and immunomodulatory potential of MSCs. However, the exact mechanisms and the roles of this regulation are required to be elucidated in further study.