Generation of reactive oxygen species in adipose-derived stem cells: Friend or foe?

Sang Gyu Park, Ji Hye Kim, Ying Xia, Jong Hyuk Sung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) participate in cellular apoptosis and are involved in pathophysiological etiology of degenerative diseases. However, recent studies suggest that ROS at low levels may play a pivotal role as second messengers and activate normal cellular processes. Intracellular ROS increase the proliferation, migration, and regenerative potential of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). In contrast, manipulations that diminish intracellular ROS levels interfere with normal ASC function. ROS generation therefore acts like a double-edged sword. Areas covered: This review discusses the following research questions: i) Do ROS stimulate or suppress ASCs? ii) How are ROS generated from ASCs? iii) Which function(s) is/are regulated by intracellular ROS generation? In addition, the antioxidant/ antiapoptotic effect of ASCs is briefly introduced. Expert opinion: Whether ROS is harmful or beneficial is primarily a question of dosage. Low or moderate ROS generation increases the proliferation, migration and regenerative potential of ASCs. Therefore, it is beneficial to expose ASCs to moderate oxidative stress during manipulation. The addition of a ROS donor in culture can reduce the cost for the expansion of ASCs and a ROS preconditioning can enhance the regenerative potential of ASCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1306
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors declare no conflict of interest and have received no payment for the preparation of this manuscript. This study was supported by a grant from the basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (2011-0019636). Y Xia was partially supported by NIH (HD-034852, AT-004422) and Vivian L. Smith Neurologic Foundation.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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