N‐acetyl‐L‐cysteine improves bone marrow endothelial progenitor cells in prolonged isolated thrombocytopenia patients post allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Abstract Prolonged isolated thrombocytopenia (PT) is a serious complication following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo‐HSCT). According to murine studies, endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) play a crucial role in the regulation of hematopoiesis and thrombopoiesis in the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment. We previously showed that the reduced frequency of BM EPCs was an independent risk factor for the occurrence of PT following allo‐HSCT. However, the functional role of BM EPCs and methods to improve the impaired BM EPCs in PT patients are unknown. In the current case‐control study, we investigated whether the BM EPCs in PT patients differed from those in good graft function patients. Moreover, we evaluated whether N‐acetyl‐L‐cysteine (NAC, a reactive oxygen species [ROS] scavenger) could enhance BM EPCs from PT patients in vitro and in vivo. The PT patients exhibited dysfunctional BM EPCs characterized by high levels of ROS and apoptosis and decreased migration and angiogenesis capabilities. In vitro treatment with NAC improved the quantity and function of the BM EPCs cultivated from the PT patients by downregulating the p38 MAPK pathway and rescued the impaired BM EPCs to support megakaryocytopoiesis. Furthermore, according to the results of a preliminary clinical study, NAC is safe and effective in PT patients. In summary, these results suggested that the reduced and dysfunctional BM EPCs are involved in the occurrence of PT. The defective BM EPCs in the PT patients can be quantitatively and functionally improved by NAC, indicating that NAC is a promising therapeutic approach for PT patients following allo‐HSCT.
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