Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 12 pp 11386—11397

Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells improve thymus and spleen function of aging rats through affecting P21/PCNA and suppressing oxidative stress

Zhihong Wang1,2, , Yun Lin1,2, , Shang Jin1,2, , Tiannan Wei1,2, , Zhihai Zheng1,2, , Weimin Chen1,2, ,

  • 1 Provincial Clinical Medical College of Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou 350001, Fujian, China
  • 2 Department of Hematology, Fujian Provincial Hospital, Fuzhou 350001, Fujian, China

Received: November 4, 2019       Accepted: March 9, 2020       Published: June 19, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright © 2020 Wang et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) have been considered to be an important regulator for immune function. We aim to prove the function improvement of aging spleen and thymus induced by BMSCs and unfold the specific mechanisms. Aging animal model was established using D-galactose. The morphological changes of spleen and thymus tissues were observed using hematoxylin-eosin staining and transmission electron microscopy. Key cytokines in the serum were measured with enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Protein and mRNA levels of P16, P21, and PCNA were detected using western blotting and RT-qPCR. Special markers of BMSCs were identified using flow cytometry, and successful induction of BMSCs to steatoblast and osteoblasts was observed. Compared to aging model, BMSCs significantly increased the spleen and thymus index, improved the histological changes of spleen and thymus tissues. A remarkable increase of ratio between CD4+T cells and CD8+T cells, level of IL-2 was achieved by BMSCs. However, BMSCs markedly inhibited the content of IL-10, TNF-a, P16, and P21 but promoted PCNA. Significant inhibition of oxidative stress by BMSCs was also observed. We demonstrated that BMSCs significantly improved the tissue damage of aging spleen and thymus, BMSCs may improve aging organs through influencing cytokines, oxidative stress, and P21/PCNA.


BMSCs: Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells; ROS: Reactive oxygen species; TEM: Transmission electron microscopy; GFP: Green fluorescent protein.