HypOxygen's Blog - Latest News from HypOxygen

IDH1 Mutated Cells Demonstrate Pseudohypoxic Proline Metabolism

This week at the Keystone Symposia “New Frontiers in Understanding Tumor Metabolism” joint with “Immunometabolism in Immune Function and Inflammatory Disease”, HypOxystation user Kate Hollinshead of the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research at the University of Birmingham in the UK presented both a poster and held a talk on her results. Her project, carried out together with colleagues in La Jolla, California and Cambridge, UK, is entitled “IDH1 mutated cells demonstrate pseudohypoxic proline metabolism”. The lab currently utilizes two Don Whitley Scientific H35 HypOxystations for their low oxygen cell culture work.

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Are your cells holding their breath?

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The hypoxic microenvironment exerts a significant influence on the epigenetic regulation of stem cell fate and behavior in vivo, and the role of low oxygen in maintenance and differentiation of stem cells in culture is coming under intense scrutiny. Epigenetic responsiveness to environmental cues in the cell environment to optimize gene expression can be modulated through chromatin or histone modification, transcriptional co-regulators and methylation/demethylation sequences (Tsai & Wu, 2014). The pathways regulating stem cell behavior are particularly interesting in the light of regenerative therapies, and oxygen level has been shown by many groups to be a master determinant of both pluripotency and differentiation. Hypoxia can, for example, induce microRNA’s that target the 3’ untranslated region of histone deacetylases, driving embryonic stem cells to differentiate into the myogenic lineage (Lee et al, 2015). Transcriptional activation of anti-angiogenesis genes during hypoxia as mediated by epigenetic changes in methylation patterns influences the status of stem cell-like populations in tumors (Ueda et al., 2014).

Read more: Are your cells holding their breath?

Easy Oxygen Calibration

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The new, fully automated oxygen calibration system that is currently available on the Whitley H135 Hypoxystation could really make a difference. This system allows you to calibrate your workstation efficiently and easily and so improve the accuracy of experimental data.

The Whitley Automated Calibration System (patent pending) is very user friendly – all you have to do is touch a couple of icons on the colour touchscreen and the routine activates. No further user intervention is required. It  takes just eight minutes to complete and readings are taken at two points – 0% oxygen and 20.9% oxygen levels. You don’t have to enter the chamber at all.

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HypOxygen Travel Grants Awarded to Dan Cojocari and Elizabeth Koch of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

HypOxygen, North American distributors of the Don Whitley HypOxystation, were happy to present Travel Awards to Dan Cojocari and Elizabeth Koch of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The authors, who grow their cell cultures at very low oxygen in the HypOxystation, presented their findings at the 14th International Wolfsberg Meeting on Molecular Radiation Biology & Oncologyin Switzerland. Congratulations to Elizabeth and Dan on their outstanding work!


“Autophagy Promotes Tolerance to Hypoxia through Maintenance of Metabolic Homeostasis” 


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Optimizing Oxygen Conditions Enhances Stem Cell Recovery and Culture


Two very recent papers, published in Cell and Regenerative Medicine, have described research into the advantages of reducing the oxygen exposure stem cells experience during isolation and cultivation, and the cellular mechanisms involved in translating hypoxia into increased stem cell survival and enhanced transplantation efficacy. The data presented by Mantel et al. on hematopoietic stem cells, and by Kay et al. on mesenchymal stem cells, caused quite a stir at the recent ISSCR meeting in Stockholm, as attendees discussed the implications for their own work.

Alisdair Kay and co-workers at Keele University evaluated the impact of various oxygen, glucose and serum levels on culturing human bone marrow-derived MSC’s. They found that the application of more physiological conditions, e.g. 2% oxygen instead of 21% O2 ambient, resulted in significantly increased cell yields; the highest yields were achieved in the stringently controlled hypoxic environment of a workstation. The authors attribute this to deoxygenation/reoxygenation cycles and very brief air exposure for cells cultured in an incubator, as compared to the controlled atmosphere in the workstation. Transcriptome analysis of hMSC’s cultured at 2% (incubator vs workstation) and 21% oxygen revealed scores of genes that were up or downregulated with very little overlap among the subsets. Kay et al. have identified downregulation of bone morphogenetic protein BMP2 expression, modulation of chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor CXCR2 signaling, and LEPR upregulation as causative factors for enhanced hMSC isolation at hypoxia.

Read more: Optimizing Oxygen Conditions Enhances Stem Cell Recovery and Culture

Hypoxia and Stem Cells

stockholmLater this month, the international stem cell research community will be traveling to Stockholm for the upcoming ISSCR meeting covering diverse topics from reprogramming and pluripotency of stem cells through tissue engineering and organ regeneration to therapy with stem cells. Hypoxia is a crucial parameter determining the fate and development of stem cells, which leads Don Whitley Scientific to exhibit the HypOxystation controlled environment workstation for low oxygen cell culture. We would be delighted to see you at the Don Whitley booth B15:33.

Dr. Burga Kalz Fuller, Product Manager at our American distributor, HypOxygen, has summarized five recent papers delineating the role of hypoxia in stem cell research:

1. “Hypoxia promotes stem cell-like phenotype in multiple myeloma cells”, Muz et al., Blood Cancer Journal, 2014

Diverse effects of hypoxia on multiple myeloma MM, where a stem cell-like population causes relapse, are examined. Adaptation to hypoxic conditions causes de-differentiation, decreased proliferation, increased tumor initiation ability, and complete drug resistance in the MM stem cells. These results suggest a strategy of targeting the hypoxic stem cell-like population in order to prevent relapse in MM patients.

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