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Piezo1-mediated mechanosensation in bone marrow macrophages promotes vascular niche regeneration after irradiation injury.


Background: Irradiation disrupts the vascular niche where hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside, causing delayed hematopoietic reconstruction. The subsequent recovery of sinusoidal vessels is key to vascular niche regeneration and a prerequisite for hematopoietic reconstruction. We hypothesize that resident bone marrow macrophages (BM-Mφs) are responsible for repairing the HSC niche upon irradiation injury. Methods: We examined the survival and activation of BM-Mφs in C57BL/6 mice upon total body irradiation. After BM-Mφ depletion via injected clodronate-containing liposomes and irradiation injury, hematopoietic reconstruction and sinusoidal vascular regeneration were assessed with immunofluorescence and flow cytometry. Then enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and flow cytometry were performed to analyze the contribution of VEGF-A released by BM-Mφs to the vascular restructuring of the HSC niche. VEGF-A-mediated signal transduction was assessed with transcriptome sequencing, flow cytometry, and pharmacology (agonists and antagonists) to determine the molecular mechanisms of Piezo1-mediated responses to structural changes in the HSC niche. Results: The depletion of BM-Mφs aggravated the post-irradiation injury, delaying the recovery of sinusoidal endothelial cells and HSCs. A fraction of the BM-Mφ population persisted after irradiation, with residual BM-Mφ exhibiting an activated M2-like phenotype. The expression of VEGF-A, which is essential for sinusoidal regeneration, was upregulated in BM-Mφs post-irradiation, especially CD206+ BM-Mφs. The expression of mechanosensory ion channel Piezo1, a response to mechanical environmental changes induced by bone marrow ablation, was upregulated in BM-Mφs, especially CD206+ BM-Mφs. Piezo1 upregulation was mediated by the effects of irradiation, the activation of Piezo1 itself, and the M2-like polarization induced by the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. Piezo1 activation was associated with increased expression of VEGF-A and increased accumulation of NFATC1, NFATC2, and HIF-1α. The Piezo1-mediated upregulation in VEGF-A was suppressed by inhibiting the calcineurin/NFAT/HIF-1α signaling pathway. Conclusion: These findings reveal that BM-Mφs play a critical role in promoting vascular niche regeneration by sensing and responding to structural changes after irradiation injury, offering a potential target for therapeutic efforts to enhance hematopoietic reconstruction.

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