Histone deacetylase (HDAC) is an important therapeutic target in cancer.
Two of the main anticancer mechanisms of HDAC inhibitors are induction of terminal differentiation and inhibition of cell proliferation.
To investigate the role of HDAC in maintenance of self-renewal and cell proliferation, scientists treated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that originated from adipose tissue or umbilical cord blood with valproic acid (VPA) and sodium butyrate (NaBu).
Human MSCs were isolated from mammary fat tissue and cord blood.
They performed MTT assay and flow cytometry-based cell cycle analysis to assess self-renewal of MSCs.
In vitro differentiation assays into osteogenic, adipogenic, neurogenic and chondrogenic lineages were conducted to investigate MSC multipotency.
Immunocytochemistry, Western blot and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction were used to interrogate molecular pathways.
VPA and NaBu flattened the morphology of MSCs and inhibited their growth.
VPA and NaBu activated the transcription of p21(CIP1/WAF1) by increasing the acetylation of histone H3 and H4 and eventually blocked the cell cycle at G2/M phase.
The expression level of p16(INK4A), a cdk inhibitor that is closely related to cellular senescence, was not changed by HDAC inhibitor treatment.
Scientists performed controlled differentiation into bone, fat, cartilage and nervous tissue to elucidate the role of HDAC in the pluripotency of MSC to differentiate into functional tissues.
VPA and NaBu decreased the efficiency of adipogenic, chondrogenic, and neurogenic differentiation as visualized by specific staining and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.
In contrast, osteogenic differentiation was elevated by HDAC inhibitor treatment.
It is concluded that HDAC activity is essential for maintaining the self-renewal and pluripotency of MSCs.