Synergistic Effect of Hydrogen and 5-Aza on Myogenic Differentiation through the p38 MAPK Signaling Pathway in Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Background and objectives: This study aims to clarify the systems underlying regulation and regulatory roles of hydrogen combined with 5-Aza in the myogenic differentiation of adipose mesenchymal stem cells (ADSCs). Methods and results: In this study, ADSCs acted as an in vitro myogenic differentiating mode. First, the Alamar blue Staining and mitochondrial tracer technique were used to verify whether hydrogen combined with 5-Aza could promote cell proliferation. In addition, this study assessed myogenic differentiating markers (e.g., Myogenin, Mhc and Myod protein expressions) based on the Western blotting assay, analysis on cellular morphological characteristics (e.g., Myotube number, length, diameter and maturation index), RT-PCR (Myod, Myogenin and Mhc mRNA expression) and Immunofluorescence analysis (Desmin, Myosin and β-actin protein expression). Finally, to verify the mechanism of myogenic differentiation of hydrogen-bound 5-Aza, we performed bioinformatics analysis and Western blot to detect the expression of p-P38 protein. Hydrogen combined with 5-Aza significantly enhanced the proliferation and myogenic differentiation of ADSCs in vitro by increasing the number of single-cell mitochondria and upregulating the expression of myogenic biomarkers such as Myod, Mhc and myotube formation. The expressions of p-P38 was up-regulated by hydrogen combined with 5-Aza. The differentiating ability was suppressed when the cells were cultivated in combination with SB203580 (p38 MAPK signal pathway inhibitor). Conclusions: Hydrogen alleviates the cytotoxicity of 5-Aza and synergistically promotes the myogenic differentiation capacity of adipose stem cells via the p38 MAPK pathway. Thus, the mentioned results present insights into myogenic differentiation and are likely to generate one potential alternative strategy for skeletal muscle related diseases. Keywords: 5-Azacitidin (5-Aza); Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells; Hydrogen; Myogenic differentiation; P38 MAPK signaling pathway.