Deferoxamine Protects Stromal/Stem Cells of “Lull pgm System”-Processed Lipoaspirates Against Damages Induced by Mitochondrial Respiration Inhibition

  • Paolo G. Morselli
  • Gioia Sorbi
  • Carlotta Feliziani
  • Claudio MuscariEmail author
Original Article Basic Science/Experimental



The ischemic environment of the receiving area compromises the outcome of autologous fat grafts. The aim of this study was to isolate and expand the stromal vascular fraction from patient lipoaspirates and investigate the gain in cell viability exerted by some protective agents against the blockage of mitochondrial respiration.


The aspirates were (1) washed, using the “Lull pgm system,” (2) centrifuged and (3) decanted. The corresponding stromal vascular fractions were isolated, and after cell adherence selection, the stromal/stem cell subpopulations were exposed to Antimycin A for 1 h. Then, the protection induced by cell pretreatment with deferoxamine, diazoxide and IGF-1 was evaluated.


The residual cell viability of the “Lull pgm system”-washed samples was greater than that of the centrifuged samples (p < 0.05), and this advantage was maintained during the following 12 days of culture. The administration of 400 μM deferoxamine before Antimycin A treatment increased the number of viable cells from 56.5 to 80.8% (p < 0.05). On the contrary, the pretreatment with 250 μM diazoxide or 0.1 μg/ml IGF-1 did not exert any significant pro-survival action. Echinomycin abolished the positive effect of deferoxamine, suggesting that its protection involved HIF-1α.


Adipose-derived stromal–stem cells survive the inhibition of mitochondrial respiration better if the lipoaspirate is washed using the “Lull pgm system” rather than centrifuged. Moreover, a significant contribution to cell survival can be obtained by preconditioning stromal–stem cells with deferoxamine. In a clinical perspective, this drug could be safely administered before surgery to patients undergoing autologous fat transfer.

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Antimycin A CFU-F Deferoxamine Echinomycin Lipoaspirate Adipose-derived stromal–stem cells 



Funding for this research was obtained from RFO (Ricerca Fondamentale Orientata) of the Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences (DIBINEM), University of Bologna.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature and International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine (DIMES)University of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences (DIBINEM)University of BolognaBolognaItaly

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