Resistin-like molecule α stimulates proliferation of mesenchymal stem cells while maintaining their multipotency

Irina A. Kolosova, Daniel Angelini, Chunling Fan, John Skinner, Chris Cheadle, Roger A. Johns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Resistin-like molecule α (RELMα) is highly upregulated in the lungs of mice subjected to hypoxia. It is secreted from pulmonary epithelium and causes potent mitogenic, angiogenic, and vasoconstrictive effects in the lung vasculature. By using bone marrow transplantation in mice, we previously showed that RELMα is able to increase the number of bone marrow-derived cells in lung tissue, especially in the remodeling pulmonary vasculature. The current study investigated the effect of RELMα on progenitor stem cell content in mouse lung. Hypoxia, while stimulating RELMα expression, caused an increase in the number of Sca1+/CD45- progenitor cells in lungs of wild-type mice, but not in lungs of RELMα knockout mice. An in vitro study with cultured mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) showed that RELMα induced a robust proliferative response that was dependent on Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and Erk activation. RELMα treatment of MSCs caused upregulation of a large number of genes involved in cell cycle, mitosis, organelle, and cytoskeleton biogenesis, and DNA metabolism. MSCs cultured in RELMα-supplemented media were able to maintain their differentiation potential into adipogenic, osteogenic, or mesenchymal phenotypes, although adipogenic differentiation was partially inhibited. These results demonstrate that RELMα may be involved in stem cell proliferation in the lung, without affecting differentiation potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-247
Number of pages9
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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