Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 17 pp 21364—21384

Deferoxamine accelerates endothelial progenitor cell senescence and compromises angiogenesis

Yi-Nan Lee1,2, , Hsueh-Hsiao Wang3, , Cheng-Huang Su1,2,3, , Hsin-I Lee3, , Yen-Hung Chou3,4, , Chin-Ling Hsieh1,2, , Wen-Ting Liu1,2, , Kuo-Tung Shu1,2, , Kai-Ting Chang1,2, , Hung-I Yeh1,2,3, , Yih-Jer Wu1,2,3,4, ,

  • 1 Cardiovascular Center, Department of Internal Medicine, MacKay Memorial Hospital, Taipei 10449, Taiwan
  • 2 Department of Medical Research, MacKay Memorial Hospital, Taipei 10449, Taiwan
  • 3 Department of Medicine, MacKay Medical College, New Taipei 25245, Taiwan
  • 4 Institute of Biomedical Sciences, MacKay Medical College, New Taipei 25245, Taiwan

Received: February 19, 2021       Accepted: August 2, 2021       Published: September 11, 2021
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2021 Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Senescence reduces the circulating number and angiogenic activity of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), and is associated with aging-related vascular diseases. However, it is very time-consuming to obtain aged cells (~1 month of repeated replication) or animals (~2 years) for senescence studies. Here, we established an accelerated senescence model by treating EPCs with deferoxamine (DFO), an FDA-approved iron chelator. Four days of low-dose (3 μM) DFO induced senescent phenotypes in EPCs, including a senescent pattern of protein expression, impaired mitochondrial bioenergetics, altered mitochondrial protein levels and compromised angiogenic activity. DFO-treated early EPCs from young and old donors (< 35 vs. > 70 years old) displayed similar senescent phenotypes, including elevated senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity and reduced relative telomere lengths, colony-forming units and adenosine triphosphate levels. To validate this accelerated senescence model in vivo, we intraperitoneally injected Sprague-Dawley rats with DFO for 4 weeks. Early EPCs from DFO-treated rats displayed profoundly senescent phenotypes compared to those from control rats. Additionally, in hind-limb ischemic mice, DFO pretreatment compromised EPC angiogenesis by reducing both blood perfusion and capillary density. DFO thus accelerates EPC senescence and appears to hasten model development for cellular senescence studies.


CFU: colony-forming unit; CSIG: cell senescence-inhibited gene; DFO: deferoxamine; Drp1: dynamin-related protein 1; eNOS: endothelial nitric-oxide synthase; EPC: endothelial progenitor cell; Fis1: mitochondrial fission 1 protein; MFN1: mitofusin-1; MTP18: mitochondrial protein 18 kDa; OCR: oxygen consumption rate; plasminogen activator inhibitor-1: PAI-1; Sirt1: sirtuin (silent mating type information regulation 2 homolog) 1; SA-βGal: senescence-associated β-galactosidase; Skp2: S phase-associated protein-2.