Cigarette Smoking Impairs Adipose Stromal Cell Vasculogenic Activity and Abrogates Potency to Ameliorate Ischemia

Daria Barwinska, Dmitry O. Traktuev, Stephanie Merfeld-Clauss, Todd G. Cook, Hongyan Lu, Irina Petrache, Keith L. March

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Cigarette smoking (CS) adversely affects the physiologic function of endothelial progenitor, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. However, the effect of CS on the ability of adipose stem/stromal cells (ASC) to promote vasculogenesis and rescue perfusion in the context of ischemia is unknown. To evaluate this, ASC from nonsmokers (nCS-ASC) and smokers (CS-ASC), and their activity to promote perfusion in hindlimb ischemia models, as well as endothelial cell (EC) survival and vascular morphogenesis in vitro were assessed. While nCS-ASC improved perfusion in ischemic limbs, CS-ASC completely lost this therapeutic effect. In vitro vasculogenesis assays revealed that human CS-ASC and ASC from CS–exposed mice showed compromised support of EC morphogenesis into vascular tubes, and the CS-ASC secretome was less potent in supporting EC survival/proliferation. Comparative secretome analysis revealed that CS-ASC produced lower amounts of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and stromal cell-derived growth factor 1 (SDF-1). Conversely, CS-ASC secreted the angiostatic/pro-inflammatory factor Activin A, which was not detected in nCS-ASC conditioned media (CM). Furthermore, higher Activin A levels were measured in EC/CS-ASC cocultures than in EC/nCS-ASC cocultures. CS-ASC also responded to inflammatory cytokines with 5.2-fold increase in Activin A secretion, whereas nCS-ASC showed minimal Activin A induction. Supplementation of EC/CS-ASC cocultures with nCS-ASC CM or with recombinant vascular endothelial growth factor, HGF, or SDF-1 did not rescue vasculogenesis, whereas inhibition of Activin A expression or activity improved network formation up to the level found in EC/nCS-ASC cocultures. In conclusion, ASC of CS individuals manifest compromised in vitro vasculogenic activity as well as in vivo therapeutic activity. Stem Cells 2018;36:856–867.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)856-867
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Activin A
  • Adipose stem/stromal cells
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Conditioned media
  • Hindlimb ischemia
  • Vasculogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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