Background: Pluripotent, Lin-/CD45-/Sca-1+ very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs) in mouse bone marrow (BM) are resistant to total body radiation because of their quiescent nature, whereas Lin-/CD45+/Sca-1+ hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) get eliminated. In the present study, we provide further evidence for the existence of VSELs in mouse BM and have also examined the effects of a chemotherapeutic agent (5-fluorouracil (5-FU)) and gonadotropin hormone (follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)) on BM stem/progenitor cells. Methods: VSELs and HSCs were characterized in intact BM. Swiss mice were injected with 5-FU (150 mg/kg) and sacrificed on 2, 4, and 10 days (D2, D4, and D10) post treatment to examine changes in BM histology and effects on VSELs and HSCs by a multiparametric approach. The effect of FSH (5 IU) administered 48 h after 5-FU treatment was also studied. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation, cell cycle analysis, and colony-forming unit (CFU) assay were carried out to understand the functional potential of stem/progenitor cells towards regeneration of chemoablated marrow. Results: Nuclear OCT-4, SCA-1, and SSEA-1 coexpressing LIN-/CD45- VSELs and slightly larger LIN-/CD45+ HSCs expressing cytoplasmic OCT-4 were identified and comprised 0.022 ± 0.002 % and 0.081 ± 0.004 % respectively of the total cells in BM. 5-FU treatment resulted in depletion of cells with a 7-fold reduction by D4 and normal hematopoiesis was re-established by D10. Nuclear OCT-4 and PCNA-positive VSELs were detected in chemoablated bone sections near the endosteal region. VSELs remained unaffected by 5-FU on D2 and increased on D4, whereas HSCs showed a marked reduction in numbers on D2 and later increased along with the corresponding increase in BrdU uptake and upregulation of specific transcripts (Oct-4A, Oct-4, Sca-1, Nanog, Stella, Fragilis, Pcna). Cells that survived 5-FU formed colonies in vitro. Both VSELs and HSCs expressed FSH receptors and FSH treatment enhanced hematopoietic recovery by 72 h. Conclusion: Both VSELs and HSCs were activated in response to the stress created by 5-FU and FSH enhanced hematopoietic recovery by at least 72 h in 5-FU-treated mice. VSELs are the most primitive pluripotent stem cells in BM that self-renew and give rise to HSCs under stress, and HSCs further divide rapidly and differentiate to maintain homeostasis. The study provides a novel insight into basic hematopoiesis and has clinical relevance.
Shaikh, A., Bhartiya, D., Kapoor, S., & Nimkar, H. (2016). Delineating the effects of 5-fluorouracil and follicle-stimulating hormone on mouse bone marrow stem/progenitor cells. Stem Cell Research and Therapy, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13287-016-0311-6