Environmental benzopyrene attenuates stemness of placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells via aryl hydrocarbon receptor

June Seok Heo, Ja Yun Lim, Sangshin Pyo, Dae Wui Yoon, Dongsook Lee, Wen Xiu Ren, Seung Gwan Lee, Gi Jin Kim, Jinkwan Kim

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14 Citations (Scopus)


The toxic effects of particulate matter have been linked to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) such as benzopyrene. PAHs are potent inducers of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), which is an expressed nuclear receptor that senses environmental stimuli and modulates gene expression. Even though several studies have shown that the benzopyrene (BP) of chemical pollutants significantly impaired stem cell activity, the exact molecular mechanisms were not clearly elucidated. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effects of BP on placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells (PD-MSCs) in vitro. We found that the AhR in PD-MSCs was expressed under the treatment of BP, and its activation markedly disrupted osteogenic differentiation through the alteration of stemness activity of PD-MSCs. Moreover, BP treatment significantly reduced the proliferation activity of PD-MSCs and expression of pluripotent markers through the induction of AhR. Treatment with StemRegenin 1 (SR1), a purine derivative that antagonizes the AhR, effectively prevented BP-induced reduction of the proliferation and differentiation activity of PD-MSCs. In this study, we found that BP treatment in PD-MSCs markedly obstructs PD-MSC stemness through AhR signaling. Noteworthy, SR1-mediated MSC application will contribute to new perspectives on MSC-based therapies for air pollution-related bone diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7414015
JournalStem Cells International
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Jungwon University Research Grant (number 2017-050).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2019 June Seok Heo et al.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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