Downregulation of metabolic activity increases cell survival under hypoxic conditions: Potential applications for tissue engineering

Jaehyun Kim, Karl Erik Andersson, John D. Jackson, Sang Jin Lee, Anthony Atala, James J. Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A major challenge to the success of cell-based implants for tissue regeneration is an insufficient supply of oxygen before host vasculature is integrated into the implants, resulting in premature cell death and dysfunction. Whereas increasing oxygenation to the implants has been a major focus in the field, our strategy is aimed at lowering oxygen consumption by downregulating cellular metabolism of cell-based implants. Adenosine, which is a purine nucleoside that functions as an energy transferring molecule, has been reported to increase under hypoxia, resulting in reducing the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) demands of the Na+/K+ ATPase. In the present study, we investigated whether adenosine could be used to downregulate cellular metabolism to achieve prolonged survival under hypoxic conditions. Murine myoblasts (C2C12) lacking a self-survival mechanism were treated with adenosine under 0.1% hypoxic stress. The cells, cultured in the presence of 5mM adenosine, maintained their viability under hypoxia, and regained their normal growth and function of forming myotubes when transferred to normoxic conditions at day 11 without further supply of adenosine, whereas nontreated cells failed to survive. An increase in adenosine concentrations shortened the onset of reproliferation after transfer to normoxic conditions. This increase correlated with an increase in metabolic downregulation during the early phase of hypoxia. A higher intracellular ATP level was observed in adenosine-treated cells throughout the duration of hypoxia. This strategy of increasing cell survival under hypoxic conditions through downregulating cellular metabolism may be utilized for cell-based tissue regeneration applications as well as protecting tissues against hypoxic injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2265-2272
Number of pages8
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Issue number15-16
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Downregulation of metabolic activity increases cell survival under hypoxic conditions: Potential applications for tissue engineering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this