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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8510805, 13 pages
Research Article

Enhancement of Mitochondrial Transfer by Antioxidants in Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells

1Institute of Medical Sciences, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan
2Research Assistant Center, Show Chwan Memorial Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan
3Department of Medical Research, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan

Correspondence should be addressed to Cheng-Yoong Pang

Received 19 January 2017; Accepted 23 March 2017; Published 17 May 2017

Academic Editor: Hsin-Chen Lee

Copyright © 2017 Chia-Jung Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Excessive reactive oxygen species is the major component of a harsh microenvironment after ischemia/reperfusion injury in human tissues. Combined treatment of N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) and L-ascorbic acid 2-phosphate (AAP) promoted the growth of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and suppressed oxidative stress-induced cell death by enhancing mitochondrial integrity and function in vitro. In this study, we aimed to determine whether NAC and AAP (termed MCA) could enhance the therapeutic potential of hMSCs. We established a coculture system consisting of MCA-treated and H2O2-treated hMSCs and investigated the role of tunneling nanotubes (TNTs) in the exchange of mitochondria between the 2 cell populations. The consequences of mitochondria exchange were assessed by fluorescence confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. The results showed that MCA could increase the mitochondrial mass, respiratory capacity, and numbers of TNTs in hMSCs. The “energized” mitochondria were transferred to the injured hMSCs via TNTs, the oxidative stress was decreased, and the mitochondrial membrane potential of the H2O2-treated hMSCs was stabilized. The transfer of mitochondria decreased the expression of S616-phosphorylated dynamin-related protein 1, a protein that dictates the fragmentation/fission of mitochondria. Concurrently, MCA also enhanced mitophagy in the coculture system, implicating that damaged mitochondria were eliminated in order to maintain cell physiology.