Magnesium Deprivation Potentiates Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transcriptional Remodeling

Azzurra Sargenti, Sara Castiglioni, Elena Olivi, Francesca Bianchi, Alessandra Cazzaniga, Giovanna Farruggia, Concettina Cappadone, Lucia Merolle, Emil Malucelli, Carlo Ventura, Jeanette A M Maier, Stefano Iotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnesium plays a pivotal role in energy metabolism and in the control of cell growth. While magnesium deprivation clearly shapes the behavior of normal and neoplastic cells, little is known on the role of this element in cell differentiation. Here we show that magnesium deficiency increases the transcription of multipotency markers and tissue-specific transcription factors in human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells exposed to a mixture of natural molecules, i.e., hyaluronic, butyric and retinoid acids, which tunes differentiation. We also demonstrate that magnesium deficiency accelerates the osteogenic differentiation of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. We argue that magnesium deprivation generates a stressful condition that modulates stem cell plasticity and differentiation potential. These studies indicate that it is possible to remodel transcription in mesenchymal stem cells by lowering extracellular magnesium without the need for genetic manipulation, thus offering new hints for regenerative medicine applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 9 2018


  • Adipose Tissue/cytology
  • Adult
  • Bone Marrow Cells/cytology
  • Cell Cycle/genetics
  • Cell Differentiation/genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Magnesium/metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells/metabolism
  • Osteogenesis/genetics
  • Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


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