Application of ex-vivo spheroid model system for the analysis of senescence and senolytic phenotypes in uterine leiomyoma

Jia Xie, Xiuhua Xu, Ping Yin, Yinuo Li, Haiyang Guo, Stacy Kujawa, Debabrata Chakravarti, Serdar Bulun, J. Julie Kim, Jian Jun Wei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Cellular senecence is an important biologic endpoint. Naturally occuring (aging) senescence is common in uterine leiomyoma (ULM). AKT is one of major pathways in promoting ULM growth and survival. Inactivation of AKT by MK2206 in ULM resulted in stress-induced senescence in vitro. Study of the senescent phenotypes and molecular changes in ULM may greatly facilitate the understanding of the tumor biology and potential clinical therapy for this common disease associated with high morbidity. To study senescence in a model system that closely resembles primary ULM in vivo, we applied an ex vivo model of three-dimensional (3D) spheroid culture system which maintained the molecular and cellular characteristics of primary ULM and matched myometrium as seen in vivo. Gene expression profiling done on ULM induced to undergo replication (passaging) or stress-induced (MK2206) senescence revealed that ROS and hypoxic-related genes were upregulated in the two types of senescences. Overexpression of two selected genes, WIPI1 and SLITKR4, induced cellular senescence in ULM spheroids. Additionally, administration of ABT263 (a BH3 mimetic) effectively reduced the senescent cells induced in ULM spheroids. This study identified novel genes associated with senescence in ULM and demonstrated a BH3 mimetic to act as a senolytic to remove senescent cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1575-1587
Number of pages13
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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