• Polyamines;
  • Adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells;
  • Mechanical loading;
  • Fluid shear stress;
  • Fluid flow;
  • Nitric oxide;
  • Spermidine/spermine N (1)-acetyltransferase;
  • Cyclooxygenase-2;
  • Bone cells


For bone tissue engineering, it is important that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) display a bone cell-like response to mechanical loading. We have shown earlier that this response includes increased nitric oxide (NO) production and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) gene expression, both of which are intimately involved in mechanical adaptation of bone. COX-2 gene expression is likely regulated by polyamines, which are organic cations implicated in cell proliferation and differentiation. This has led to the hypothesis that polyamines may play a role in the response of adipose tissue-derived MSCs (AT-MSCs) to mechanical loading. The aim of this study was to investigate whether genes involved in polyamine metabolism are regulated by mechanical loading and to study whether polyamines modulate mechanical loading-induced NO production and COX-2 gene expression in human AT-MSCs. Human AT-MSCs displayed a bone cell-like response to mechanical loading applied by pulsating fluid flow (PFF), as demonstrated by increased NO production and increased gene expression of COX-2. Furthermore, PFF increased gene expression of spermidine/spermine N (1)-acetyltransferase, which is involved in polyamine catabolism, suggesting that mechanical loading modulates polyamine levels. Finally, the polyamine spermine was shown to inhibit both PFF-induced NO production and COX-2 gene expression, suggesting that polyamines modulate the response of human AT-MSCs to mechanical loading. In conclusion, this is the first study implicating polyamines in the response of human AT-MSCs to mechanical loading, creating opportunities for the use of polyamines in tissue engineering approaches targeting skeletal defects.