The molecular mechanism underlying the proliferating and preconditioning effect of vitamin C on adipose-derived stem cells.
Although adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) show promise for cell therapy, there is a tremendous need for developing ASC activators. In the present study, we investigated whether or not vitamin C increases the survival, proliferation, and hair-regenerative potential of ASCs. In addition, we tried to find the molecular mechanisms underlying the vitamin C-mediated stimulation of ASCs. Sodium-dependent vitamin C transporter 2 (SVCT2) is expressed in ASCs, and mediates uptake of vitamin C into ASCs. Vitamin C increased the survival and proliferation of ASCs in a dose-dependent manner. Vitamin C increased ERK1/2 phosphorylation, and inhibition of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway attenuated the proliferation of ASCs. Microarray and quantitative polymerase chain reaction showed that vitamin C primarily upregulated expression of proliferation-related genes, including Fos, E2F2, Ier2, Mybl1, Cdc45, JunB, FosB, and Cdca5, whereas Fos knock-down using siRNA significantly decreased vitamin C-mediated ASC proliferation. In addition, vitamin C-treated ASCs accelerated the telogen-to-anagen transition in C3H/HeN mice, and conditioned medium from vitamin C-treated ASCs increased the hair length and the Ki67-positive matrix keratinocytes in hair organ culture. Vitamin C increased the mRNA expression of HGF, IGFBP6, VEGF, bFGF, and KGF, which may mediate hair growth promotion. In summary, vitamin C is transported via SVCT2, and increased ASC proliferation is mediated by the MAPK pathway. In addition, vitamin C preconditioning enhanced the hair growth promoting effect of ASCs. Because vitamin C is safe and effective, it could be used to increase the yield and regenerative potential of ASCs.