Tissue resident mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are known to participate in tissue regeneration that follows cell turnover, apoptosis, or necrosis. It has been long known that aging impedes an organism’s repair/regeneration capabilities. In order to study the age associated changes, the molecular characteristics of adipose tissue derived MSCs (ASCs) from three age groups of healthy volunteers, i.e., young, middle aged, and aged were investigated. The number and multilineage differentiation potential of ASCs declined with age. Aging reduces the proliferative capacity along with increases in cellular senescence. A significant increase in quiescence of G2 and S phase was observed in ASCs from aged donors. The expression of genes related to senescence such as CHEK1 and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p16(ink4a) was increased with age, however genes of apoptosis were downregulated. Further, an age-dependent abnormality in the expression of DNA break repair genes was observed. Global microRNA analysis revealed an abnormal expression of mir-27b, mir-106a, mir-199a, and let-7. In ubiquitously distributed adipose tissue (and ASCs), aging brings about important alterations, which might be critical for tissue regeneration and homeostasis. Our findings therefore provide a better understanding of the mechanism(s) involved in stem cell aging and regenerative potential, and this in turn may affect tissue repair that declines with aging.

©2011 Elsevier B.V.