Ginsenoside Rg1 protects rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells against ischemia induced apoptosis through miR-494-3p and ROCK-1

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This study aimed to verify the cytoprotective effect of ginsenoside Rg1 in vivo, and to elucidate the mechanism of Rg1 in the ischemic microenvironment. Male rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (rBMSCs) or rBMSCs treated with Rg1 were injected into ischemic region of the arterial embolism hind limb in female rats. Behavioral and histological data, obtained one-week post injection, showed that rBMSCs with Rg1 could improve the survival rate of BMSCs and enhance the therapeutic effects. rBMSCs treated with hypoxia and serum deprivation for 24 h (H/SD-rBMSCs) showed the up-regulated expression of ras homolog family member A (RhoA), Rho associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase 1 (ROCK-1), myosin light chain 2 (MLC-2), Bcl2 associated agonist of cell death (Bad) and Bcl2 associated X, apoptosis regulator (Bax); while the expression of miR-148b-3p, miR-148b-5p and miR-494-3p was down-regulated. H/SD with Rg1 treatment (H/SD+Rg1-rBMSCs) inhibited the expression of ROCK-1, MLC-2, Bad and Bax, increased the expression of Bcl-2, miR-494-3p. After ROCK-1 knockout, the expression of Bad and Bax were downregulated and Bcl-2 upregulated, but Rg1 no longer altered their expression. Mir-494-3p functional study established that miR-494-3 mimic downregulated and miR-494-3 inhibitor upregulated ROCK-1 gene expression, Rg1 did not have the ability to change the ROCK gene expression after loss of function of miR-494-3p. Also, the function loss of mir-494-3p promoted apoptosis; otherwise reduced apoptosis. The anti-apoptotic effect of Rg1 disappeared after mir-494-3p loss or gain function. In conclusion, Ginsenoside Rg1 has shown to have protective effects on ischemic-induced rBMSCs apoptosis through mir-494-3p→ROCK-1→Bcl-2 signaling pathway.Graphical abstract

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