Research Papers:

The application of mRNA-based gene transfer in mesenchymal stem cell-mediated cytotoxicity of glioma cells

Xing-Rong Guo, Zhuo-Shun Yang, Xiang-Jun Tang, Dan-Dan Zou, Hui Gui, Xiao-Li Wang, Shi-Nan Ma, Ya-Hong Yuan, Juan Fang, Bin Wang, Li Zhang, Xu-Yong Sun, Garth L. Warnock, Long-Jun Dai and Han-Jun Tu _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:55529-55542. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10835

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Xing-Rong Guo1,*, Zhuo-Shun Yang2,*, Xiang-Jun Tang2,*, Dan-Dan Zou2, Hui Gui2, Xiao-Li Wang1, Shi-Nan Ma1, Ya-Hong Yuan1, Juan Fang3, Bin Wang2,4, Li Zhang2, Xu-Yong Sun5, Garth L. Warnock6, Long-Jun Dai2,6, Han-Jun Tu1

1Hubei Key Laboratory of Stem Cell Research, Taihe Hospital, Hubei University of Medicine, Shiyan, China

2Department of Neurosurgery, Taihe Hospital, Hubei University of Medicine, Shiyan, China

3Department of Animal Care Center, Hubei University of Medicine, Shiyan, China

4The Biomedical Research Center, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

5Guangxi Key Laboratory for Transplantation Medicine, 303 Hospital of PLA, Nanning, China

6Department of Surgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Han-Jun Tu, email: [email protected]

Li Zhang, email: [email protected]

Long-Jun Dai, email: [email protected], [email protected]

Keywords: glioblastoma, cancer therapy, mesenchymal stem cells, TRAIL, PTEN

Received: October 14, 2015     Accepted: July 14, 2016     Published: July 25, 2016


Since the tumor-oriented homing capacity of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) was discovered, MSCs have attracted great interest in the research field of cancer therapy mainly focused on their use as carries for anticancer agents. Differing from DNA-based vectors, the use of mRNA-based antituor gene delivery benefits from readily transfection and mutagenesis-free. However, it is essential to verify if mRNA transfection interferes with MSCs’ tropism and their antitumor properties. TRAIL- and PTEN-mRNAs were synthesized and studied in an in vitro model of MSC-mediated indirect co-culture with DBTRG human glioma cells. The expression of TRAIL and PTEN in transfected MSCs was verified by immunoblotting analysis, and the migration ability of MSCs after anticancer gene transfection was demonstrated using transwell co-cultures. The viability of DBTRG cells was determined with bioluminescence, live/dead staining and real time cell analyzer. An in vivo model of DBTRG cell-derived xenografted tumors was used to verify the antitumor effects of TRAIL- and PTEN-engineered MSCs. With regard to the effect of mRNA transfection on MSCs’ migration toward glioma cells, an enhanced migration rate was observed with MSCs transfected with all tested mRNAs compared to non-transfected MSCs (p<0.05). TRAIL- and PTEN-mRNA-induced cytotoxicity of DBTRG glioma cells was proportionally correlated with the ratio of conditioned medium from transfected MSCs. A synergistic action of TRAIL and PTEN was demonstrated in the current co-culture model. The immunoblotting analysis revealed the apoptotic nature of the cells death in the present study. The growth of the xenografted tumors was significantly inhibited by the application of MSCPTEN or MSCTRAIL/PTEN on day 14 and MSCTRAIL on day 28 (p<0.05). The results suggested that anticancer gene-bearing mRNAs synthesized in vitro are capable of being applied for MSC-mediated anticancer modality. This study provides an experimental base for further clinical anticancer studies using synthesized mRNAs.

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