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New Research On Adult Cells with Pluripotent Characteristics

The studies cited below are a sampling of the published and peer-reviewed material available on the subject. The list will be updated on a regular basis.

Identification of stem cells from human umbilical cord blood with embryonic and hematopoietic characteristics

Zhao Y et al., Exp Cell Res. 2006 Aug 1;312(13):2454-64. Epub 2006 Apr 26.

Abstract: We identified stem cells from the umbilical cord blood, designated cord blood-stem cells (CB-SC). CB-SC displayed important embryonic stem (ES) cell characteristics including expression of ES-cell-specific molecular markers including transcription factors OCT-4 and Nanog, along with stage-specific embryonic antigen (SSEA)-3 and SSEA-4. CB-SC also expressed hematopoietic cell antigens including CD9, CD45 and CD117, but were negative for CD34. CB-SC displayed very low immunogenicity as indicated by expression of a very low level of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens and failure to stimulate the proliferation of allogeneic lymphocytes. CB-SC could give rise to cells with endothelial-like and neuronal-like characteristics in vitro, as demonstrated by expression of lineage-associated markers. Notably, CB-SC could be stimulated to differentiate into functional insulin-producing cells in vivo and eliminated hyperglycemia after transplantation into a streptozotocin-induced diabetic mouse model. These findings may have significant potential to advance stem-cell-based therapeutics.

Identification of pulmonary Oct-4+ stem/progenitor cells and demonstration of their susceptibility to SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection in vitro

Ling T-Y et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Jun 20;103(25):9530-5. Epub 2006 Jun 13

Abstract: In this study, we report a serum-free culture system for primary neonatal pulmonary cells that can support the growth of octamer-binding transcription factor 4+ (Oct-4+) epithelial colonies with a surrounding mesenchymal stroma. In addition to Oct-4, these cells also express other stem cell markers such as stage-specific embryonic antigen 1 (SSEA-1), stem cell antigen 1 (Sca-1), and Clara cell secretion protein (CCSP) but not c-Kit, CD34, and p63, indicating that they represent a subpopulation of Clara cells that have been implicated as lung stem/progenitor cells in lung injury models. These colony cells can be kept for weeks in primary cultures and undergo terminal differentiation to alveolar type-2- and type-1-like pneumocytes sequentially when removed from the stroma. In addition, we have demonstrated the presence of Oct-4+ long-term BrdU label-retaining cells at the bronchoalveolar junction of neonatal lung, providing a link between the Oct-4+ cells in vivo and in vitro and strengthening their identity as putative neonatal lung stem/progenitor cells. Lastly, these Oct-4+ epithelial colony cells, which also express angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, are the target cells for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection in primary cultures and support active virus replication leading to their own destruction. These observations imply the possible involvement of lung stem/progenitor cells, in addition to pneumocytes, in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection, accounting for the continued deterioration of lung tissues and apparent loss of capacity for lung repair.

Derivation of male germ cells from bone marrow stem cells

Nayernial K et al., Lab Invest. 2006 Jul;86(7):654-63. Epub 2006 May 1

Abstract: Recent studies have demonstrated that somatic stem cells have a more flexible potential than expected, whether put into tissue or cultured under different conditions. Bone marrow (BM)-derived stem cells can transdifferentiate into multilineage cells, such as muscle of mesoderm, lung and liver of endoderm, and brain and skin of ectoderm origin. Here we show that BM stem cells are able to transdifferentiate into male germ cells. For derivation of male germ cells from adult BM stem (BMS) cells, we used the Stra8-enhanced green fluoresence protein (EGFP) transgenic mouse line expressing EGFP specifically in male germ cells. BMS cell-derived germ cells expressed the known molecular markers of primordial germ cells, such as fragilis, stella, Rnf17, Mvh and Oct4; as well as molecular markers of spermatogonial stem cells and spermatogonia including Rbm, c-Kit, Tex18, Stra8, Piwil2, Dazl, Hsp90alpha, beta1- and alpha6-integrins. Our ability to derive male germ cells from BMS cells reveals novel aspects of germ cell development and opens the possibilities for use of these cells in reproductive medicine.

A population of very small embryonic-like (VSEL) CXCR4+SSEA-1+Oct-4+ stem cells identified in adult bone marrow

Kucia M et al., Leukemia. 2006 May;20(5):857-69

Abstract: By employing multiparameter sorting, we identified in murine bone marrow (BM) a homogenous population of rare (approximately 0.02% of BMMNC) Sca-1(+)lin(-)CD45- cells that express by RQ-PCR and immunohistochemistry markers of pluripotent stem cells (PSC) such as SSEA-1, Oct-4, Nanog and Rex-1. The direct electronmicroscopical analysis revealed that these cells are small (approximately 2-4 microm), posses large nuclei surrounded by a narrow rim of cytoplasm, and contain open-type chromatin (euchromatin) that is typical for embryonic stem cells. In vitro cultures these cells are able to differentiate into all three germ-layer lineages. The number of these cells is highest in BM from young (approximately 1-month-old) mice and decreases with age. It is also significantly diminished in short living DBA/2J mice as compared to long living B6 animals. These cells in vitro respond strongly to SDF-1, HGF/SF and LIF and express CXCR4, c-met and LIF-R, respectively, and since they adhere to fibroblasts they may be coisolated with BM adherent cells. We hypothesize that this population of Sca-1(+)lin(-)CD45- very small embryonic-like (VSEL) stem cells is deposited early during development in BM and could be a source of pluripotent stem cells for tissue/organ regeneration.

Pluripotency of spermatogonial stem cells from adult mouse testis

Guan K et al. , Nature. 2006 Apr 27;440(7088):1199-203. Epub 2006 Mar 24

Abstract: Embryonic germ cells as well as germline stem cells from neonatal mouse testis are pluripotent and have differentiation potential similar to embryonic stem cells, suggesting that the germline lineage may retain the ability to generate pluripotent cells. However, until now there has been no evidence for the pluripotency and plasticity of adult spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), which are responsible for maintaining spermatogenesis throughout life in the male. Here we show the isolation of SSCs from adult mouse testis using genetic selection, with a success rate of 27%. These isolated SSCs respond to culture conditions and acquire embryonic stem cell properties. We name these cells multipotent adult germline stem cells (maGSCs). They are able to spontaneously differentiate into derivatives of the three embryonic germ layers in vitro and generate teratomas in immunodeficient mice. When injected into an early blastocyst, SSCs contribute to the development of various organs and show germline transmission. Thus, the capacity to form multipotent cells persists in adult mouse testis. Establishment of human maGSCs from testicular biopsies may allow individual cell-based therapy without the ethical and immunological problems associated with human embryonic stem cells. Furthermore, these cells may provide new opportunities to study genetic diseases in various cell lineages.

Expression of early transcription factors Oct-4, Sox-2 and Nanog by porcine umbilical cord (PUC) matrix cells

Carlin R et al. , Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2006 Feb 6;4(1):8 [Epub ahead of print]

ABSTRACT: Three transcription factors that are expressed at high levels in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are Nanog, Oct-4 and Sox-2. These transcription factors regulate the expression of other genes during development and are found at high levels in the pluripotent cells of the inner cell mass. The downregulation of these three transcription factors correlates with the loss of pluripotency and self-renewal, and the beginning of subsequent differentiation steps. The roles of Nanog, Oct-4 and Sox-2 have not been fully elucidated. They are important in embryonic development and maintenance of pluripotency in ESCs. We studied the expression of these transcription factors in porcine umbilical cord (PUC) matrix cells. METHODS: Cells were isolated from Wharton's jelly of porcine umbilical cords (PUC) and histochemically assayed for the presence of alkaline phosphatase and the presence of Nanog, Oct-4 and Sox-2 mRNA and protein. PCR amplicons were sequenced and compared with known sequences. The synthesis of Oct-4 and Nanog protein was analyzed using immunocytochemistry. FACS analysis was utilized to evaluate Hoechst 33342 dye-stained cells. RESULTS: PUC isolates were maintained in culture and formed colonies that express alkaline phosphatase. FACS analysis revealed a side population of Hoechst dye-excluding cells, the Hoechst exclusion was verapamil sensitive. Quantitative and non-quantitative RT-PCR reactions revealed expression of Nanog, Oct-4 and Sox-2 in day 15 embryonic discs, PUC cell isolates and porcine fibroblasts. Immunocytochemical analysis detected Nanog immunoreactivity in PUC cell nuclei, and faint labeling in fibroblasts. Oct-4 immunoreactivity was detected in the nuclei of some PUC cells, but not in fibroblasts.
CONCLUSIONS: Cells isolated from PUC matrix express three transcription factors found in pluripotent stem cell markers both at the mRNA and protein level. The presence of these transcription factors, along with the other characteristics of PUC cells such as their colony-forming ability, Hoechst dye-excluding side population and alkaline phosphatase expression, suggests that PUC cells have properties of primitive pluripotent stem cells. Furthermore, PUC cells are an easily and inexpensively obtained source of stem cells that are not hampered by the ethical or legal issues associated with ESCs. In addition, these cells can be cryogenically stored and expanded.

Transplantation of a novel cell line population of umbilical cord blood stem cells ameliorates neurological deficits associated with ischemic brain injury

Xiao J et al., Stem Cells Dev. 2005 Dec;14(6):722-33

Abstract: Umbilical cord blood (UCB) is a rich source of hematopoetic stem cells (HSCs). We have isolated a novel cell line population of stem cells from human UCB that exhibit properties of self-renewal, but do not have cell-surface markers that are typically found on HSCs. Analysis of transcripts revealed that these cells express transcription factors Oct-4, Rex-1, and Sox-2 that are typically expressed by stem cells. We refer to these novel cells as nonhematopoietic umbilical cord blood stem cells (nh-UCBSCs). Previous studies have shown that the intravenous infusion of UCBCs can ameliorate neurological deficits arising from ischemic brain injury. The identity of the cells that mediate this restorative effect, however, has yet to be determined. We postulate that nh-UCBSCs may be a source of the UCB cells that can mediate these effects. To test this hypothesis, we intravenously injected one million human nh-UCBSCs into rats 48 h after transient unilateral middle cerebral artery occlusion. Animals in other experimental groups received either saline injections or injections of RN33b neural stem cells. Animals were tested for neurological function before the infusion of nh-UCBSCs and at various time periods afterwards using a battery of behavioral tests. In limb placement tests, animals treated with nh-UCBSCs exhibited mean scores that were significantly better than animals treated with RN33b neural stem cells or saline. Similarly, in stepping tests, nh-UCBSC-treated animals again exhibited significantly better performance than the other experimental groups of animals. Analysis of infarct volume revealed that ischemic animals treated with nh-UCBSCs exhibited a 50% reduction in lesion volume in comparison to saline-treated controls. Histological analysis of brain tissue further revealed the presence of cells that stained for human nuclei. Some human nuclei-positive cells were also co-labeled for NeuN, indicating that the transplanted cells expressed markers of a neuronal phenotype. Cells expressing the human nuclei marker within the brain, however, were rather scant, suggesting that the restorative effects of nh-UCBSCs may be mediated by mechanisms other than cell replacement. To test this hypothesis, nh-UCBSCs were directly transplanted into the brain parenchyma after ischemic brain injury. Sprouting of nerve fibers from the nondamaged hemisphere into the ischemically damaged side of the brain was assessed by anterograde tracing using biotinylated dextran amine (BDA). Animals with nh-UCBSC transplants exhibited significantly greater densities of BDA-positive cells in the damaged side of the brain compared to animals with intraparenchymal saline injections. These results suggest that restorative effects observed with nh-UCBSC treatment following ischemic brain injury may be mediated by trophic actions that result in the reorganization of host nerve fiber connections within the injured brain.

Human fibroblast-derived cell lines have characteristics of embryonic stem cells and cells of neuro-ectodermal origin

Rieske P et al.
, Differentiation. 2005 Dec;73(9-10):474-83

Abstract: Fibroblasts are the most ubiquitous cells in complex organisms. They are the main cells of stromal tissue and play an important role in repair and healing of damaged organs. Here we report new data-initially serendipitous findings-that fibroblast-derived cell line (human fetal lung derived cells, MRC-5) have the morphology, growth rate and gene expression pattern characteristic of embryonic stem cells and cells of neuro-ectodermal origin. We have developed a serum-free culture system to maintain these cells in proliferative state. We discovered that, at proliferative state, these cells express transcription factors of pluripotent cells, OCT-3/4 and REX-1, and embryonic cell surface antigens SSEA-1, SSEA-3, and SSEA-4, as well as TRA-1-60 and TRA-1-81. In addition to embryonic cell markers, the fibroblasts expressed neuroectodermal genes: Musashi-1, nestin, medium neurofilament, and beta-III tubulin. RT-PCR data revealed that mesencephalic transcription factors, Nurr-1 and PTX-3, were also expressed in MRC-5 cells, and that these cells could be induced to express tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). Expression of TH followed down-regulation of genes associated with cell proliferation, OCT-3/4, REX-1, and beta-catenin. These data indicate that the cells commonly known as fibroblasts have some of the characteristics of stem cells, and can be induced to become neuroectodermal cells and perhaps even mature neurons.

Mesenchymal stem cells derived from CD133-positive cells in mobilized peripheral blood and cord blood: proliferation, Oct4 expression, and plasticity

Tondreau T et al., Stem Cells. 2005 Sep;23(8):1105-12. Epub 2005 Jun 13

Abstract: In this study, we used a common procedure to assess the potential of mobilized peripheral blood (MPB) and umbilical cord blood (UCB) as sources of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in comparison with bone marrow (BM). We tested three methods: plastic adhesion supplemented with 5% of BM-MSC conditioned medium, unsupplemented plastic adhesion, and selection of CD133-positive cells. MSCs derived from MPB or UCB are identified by their positive expression of mesenchymal (SH2, SH3) and negative expression of hematopoietic markers (CD14, CD34, CD45, HLA-DR). We observed that the CD133-positive cell fraction contains more MSCs with high proliferative potential. Placed in appropriate conditions, these cells proved their capacity to differentiate into adipocytes, osteocytes, chondrocytes, and neuronal/glial cells. MPB- and UCB-MSCs express Oct4, a transcriptional binding factor present in undifferentiated cells with high proliferative capacity. The selection of CD133-positive cells enabled us to obtain a homogeneous population of MSCs from UCB and MPB. These sources may have a major clinical importance thanks to their easy accessibility.

Stem cell characteristics of amniotic epithelial cells

Miki T et al., Stem Cells. 2005 Nov-Dec;23(10):1549-59. Epub 2005 Aug 4

Abstract: Amniotic epithelial cells develop from the epiblast by 8 days after fertilization and before gastrulation, opening the possibility that they might maintain the plasticity of pregastrulation embryo cells. Here we show that amniotic epithelial cells isolated from human term placenta express surface markers normally present on embryonic stem and germ cells. In addition, amniotic epithelial cells express the pluripotent stem cell-specific transcription factors octamer-binding protein 4 (Oct-4) and nanog. Under certain culture conditions, amniotic epithelial cells form spheroid structures that retain stem cell characteristics. Amniotic epithelial cells do not require other cell-derived feeder layers to maintain Oct-4 expression, do not express telomerase, and are nontumorigenic upon transplantation. Based on immunohistochemical and genetic analysis, amniotic epithelial cells have the potential to differentiate to all three germ layers--endoderm (liver, pancreas), mesoderm (cardiomyocyte), and ectoderm (neural cells) in vitro. Amnion derived from term placenta after live birth may be a useful and noncontroversial source of stem cells for cell transplantation and regenerative medicine.

Production of stem cells with embryonic characteristics from human umbilical cord blood

McGuckin CP et al., Cell Prolif. 2005 Aug;38(4):245-55.

Abstract: When will embryonic stem cells reach the clinic? The answer is simple -- not soon! To produce large quantities of homogeneous tissue for transplantation, without feeder layers, and with the appropriate recipient's immunological phenotype, is a significant scientific hindrance, although adult stem (ADS) cells provide an alternative, more ethically acceptable, source. The annual global 100 million human birth rate proposes umbilical cord blood (UCB) as the largest untouched stem cell source, with advantages of naive immune status and relatively unshortened telomere length. Here, we report the world's first reproducible production of cells expressing embryonic stem cell markers, - cord-blood-derived embryonic-like stem cells (CBEs). UCB, after elective birth by Caesarean section, has been separated by sequential immunomagnetic removal of nucleate granulocytes, erythrocytes and haemopoietic myeloid/lymphoid progenitors. After 7 days of high density culture in microflasks, (10(5) cells/ml, IMDM, FCS 10%, thrombopoietin 10 ng/ml, flt3-ligand 50 ng/ml, c-kit ligand 20 ng/ml). CBE colonies formed adherent to the substrata; these were maintained for 6 weeks, then were subcultured and continued for a minimum 13 weeks. CBEs were positive for TRA-1-60, TRA-1-81, SSEA-4, SSEA-3 and Oct-4, but not SSEA-1, indicative of restriction in the human stem cell compartment. The CBEs were also microgravity--bioreactor cultured with hepatocyte growth medium (IMDM, FCS 10%, HGF 20 ng/ml, bFGF 10 ng/ml, EGF 10 ng/ml, c-kit ligand 10 ng/ml). After 4 weeks the cells were found to express characteristic hepatic markers, cytokeratin-18, alpha-foetoprotein and albumin. Thus, such CBEs are a viable human alternative from embryonic stem cells for stem cell research, without ethical constraint and with potential for clinical applications.

Characterization of multipotent mesenchymal stem cells from the bone marrow of rhesus macaques

Izadpanah R et al., Stem Cells Dev. 2005 Aug;14(4):440-51

Abstract: The isolation and characterization of embryonic and adult stem cells from higher-order mammalian species will enhance the understanding of the biology and therapeutic application of stem cells. The aim of this study was to purify rhesus mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from adult bone marrow and to characterize functionally their abilities to differentiate along diverse lineages. Adherent cells from adult rhesus macaque bone marrow were characterized for their growth characteristics, lineage differentiation, cell-surface antigen expression, telomere length, chromosome content, and transcription factor gene expression. Rhesus bone marrow MSCs (BMSCs) are very heterogeneous, composed of primarily long, thin cells and some smaller, round cells. The cells are capable of differentiating along osteogenic, chondrogenic, and adipogenic lineages in vitro. The cell morphology and multipotential differentiation capabilities are maintained throughout extended culture. They express CD59, CD90 (Thy-1), CD105, and HLA-1 and were negative for hematopoietic markers such as CD3, CD4, CD8, CD11b, CD13, CD34, and platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (CD31). BMSCs were also demonstrated to express the mRNA for important stem cell-related transcription factors such as Oct-4, Sox-2, Rex-1, and Nanog. Rhesus BMSCs have a normal chromosome content, and the shortening of telomeres is minimal during early passages. These data demonstrate that BMSCs isolated from rhesus macaques have a high degree of commonality with MSCs isolated from other species. Therefore, isolation of these cells provides an effective and convenient method for rapid expansion of pluripotent rhesus MSCs.

Oocyte generation in adult mammalian ovaries by putative germ cells in bone marrow and peripheral blood

Johnson J et al., Cell. 2005 Jul 29;122(2):303-15

Abstract: It has been suggested that germline stem cells maintain oogenesis in postnatal mouse ovaries. Here we show that adult mouse ovaries rapidly generate hundreds of oocytes, despite a small premeiotic germ cell pool. In considering the possibility of an extragonadal source of germ cells, we show expression of germline markers in bone marrow (BM). Further, BM transplantation restores oocyte production in wild-type mice sterilized by chemotherapy, as well as in ataxia telangiectasia-mutated gene-deficient mice, which are otherwise incapable of making oocytes. Donor-derived oocytes are also observed in female mice following peripheral blood transplantation. Although the fertilizability and developmental competency of the BM and peripheral blood-derived oocytes remain to be established, their morphology, enclosure within follicles, and expression of germ-cell- and oocyte-specific markers collectively support that these cells are bona fide oocytes. These results identify BM as a potential source of germ cells that could sustain oocyte production in adulthood.

Multipotent stem cells from adult olfactory mucosa

Murrell W et al., Dev Dyn. 2005 Jun;233(2):496-515

Abstract: Multipotent stem cells are thought to be responsible for the generation of new neurons in the adult brain. Neurogenesis also occurs in an accessible part of the nervous system, the olfactory mucosa. We show here that cells from human olfactory mucosa generate neurospheres that are multipotent in vitro and when transplanted into the chicken embryo. Cloned neurosphere cells show this multipotency. Multipotency was evident without prior culture in vitro: cells dissociated from adult rat olfactory mucosa generate leukocytes when transplanted into bone marrow-irradiated hosts, and cells dissociated from adult mouse olfactory epithelium generated numerous cell types when transplanted into the chicken embryo. It is unlikely that these results can be attributed to hematopoietic precursor contamination or cell fusion. These results demonstrate the existence of a multipotent stem-like cell in the olfactory mucosa useful for autologous transplantation therapies and for cellular studies of disease. Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc

Transplanted human bone marrow cells generate new brain cells

Crain BJ et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Feb 4;100(3):1364-9.
Epub 2003 Jan 21

Abstract: Adult bone marrow stem cells seem to differentiate into muscle, skin, liver, lung, and neuronal cells in rodents and have been shown to regenerate myocardium, hepatocytes, and skin and gastrointestinal epithelium in humans. Because we have demonstrated previously that transplanted bone marrow cells can enter the brain of mice and differentiate into neurons there, we decided to examine postmortem brain samples from females who had received bone marrow transplants from male donors. The underlying diseases of the patients were lymphocytic leukemia and genetic deficiency of the immune system, and they survived between 1 and 9 months after transplant. We used a combination of immunocytochemistry (utilizing neuron-specific antibodies) and fluorescent in situ hybridization histochemistry to search for Y chromosome-positive cells. In all four patients studied we found cells containing Y chromosomes in several brain regions. Most of them were nonneuronal (endothelial cells and cells in the white matter), but neurons were certainly labeled, especially in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. The youngest patient (2 years old), who also lived the longest time after transplantation, had the greatest number of donor-derived neurons (7 in 10,000). The distribution of the labeled cells was not homogeneous. There were clusters of Y-positive cells, suggesting that single progenitor cells underwent clonal expansion and differentiation. We conclude that adult human bone marrow cells can enter the brain and generate neurons just as rodent cells do. Perhaps this phenomenon could be exploited to prevent the development or progression of neurodegenerative diseases or to repair tissue damaged by infarction or trauma.

Clonal multilineage differentiation of murine common pluripotent stem cells isolated from skeletal muscle and adipose stromal cells

Case J et al., Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Jun;1044:183-200

Abstract: Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) with transdifferentiation capacity may provide useful therapeutic modalities in the areas of cellular restoration and regenerative medicine. The utility of PSCs depends on their ability to respond to different stimuli and to adapt to tissue-specific differentiation conditions. Given that a number of cells possessing characteristics of PSCs have been identified and isolated from several adult murine tissues, we hypothesized that a common PSC may exist in multiple murine tissues and that these cells may either reside permanently in specific sites or continue to circulate and colonize tissues as needed. Previous data from our laboratory suggest that PSCs exhibiting an immunophenotype of CD45(-)Sca-1(+)c-kit(-)Thy-1(+) can be isolated from multiple murine tissues and may represent putative common PSCs (CoPSCs). To investigate whether the multiple tissue differentiation potential observed with these cells resulted from the presence of different tissue-restricted progenitors within CD45(-)Sca-1(+)c-kit(-)Thy-1(+) cells or was the product of clonal differentiation of CoPSCs, clonality studies were performed. Single skeletal muscle (SM)-derived CoPSCs were expanded for 10 days, and progeny cells were split into three culture conditions designed to stimulate myogenic, adipogenic, and neurogenic differentiation. Analysis of 600 clones indicated that 2.16%, 0.83%, and 0.33% of the total number of plated single cells were capable of unipotent, bipotent, and tripotent differentiation, respectively, into combinations of myocytes, adipocytes, and neuronal cells. Given that SM-derived CoPSCs represent 4.78% of the total cells analyzed, tripotent CoPSCs made up 0.016% of the total muscle cells. Similar results were obtained in clonal analyses using adipose stromal cell (ASC)-derived CoPSCs, suggesting that both SM- and ASC-derived CoPSCs may be phenotypically and functionally identical. Taken together, these data demonstrate that a common PSC can be identified in different murine tissues and suggest that a small fraction of these cells are capable of clonal differentiation into multiple cell types.

Clonally expanded novel multipotent stem cells from human bone marrow regenerate myocardium after myocardial infarction

Yoon Y-s et al., J Clin Invest. 2005 Feb;115(2):326-38

Abstract: We have identified a subpopulation of stem cells within adult human BM, isolated at the single-cell level, that self-renew without loss of multipotency for more than 140 population doublings and exhibit the capacity for differentiation into cells of all 3 germ layers. Based on surface marker expression, these clonally expanded human BM-derived multipotent stem cells (hBMSCs) do not appear to belong to any previously described BM-derived stem cell population. Intramyocardial transplantation of hBMSCs after myocardial infarction resulted in robust engraftment of transplanted cells, which exhibited colocalization with markers of cardiomyocyte (CMC), EC, and smooth muscle cell (SMC) identity, consistent with differentiation of hBMSCs into multiple lineages in vivo. Furthermore, upregulation of paracrine factors including angiogenic cytokines and antiapoptotic factors, and proliferation of host ECs and CMCs, were observed in the hBMSC-transplanted hearts. Coculture of hBMSCs with CMCs, ECs, or SMCs revealed that phenotypic changes of hBMSCs result from both differentiation and fusion. Collectively, the favorable effect of hBMSC transplantation after myocardial infarction appears to be due to augmentation of proliferation and preservation of host myocardial tissues as well as differentiation of hBMSCs for tissue regeneration and repair. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that a specific population of multipotent human BM-derived stem cells can induce both therapeutic neovascularization and endogenous and exogenous cardiomyogenesis.

Human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells can express insulin and key transcription factors of the endocrine pancreas developmental pathway upon genetic and/or microenvironmental manipulation in vitro

Moriscot C et al., Stem Cells. 2005 Apr;23(4):594-603

Abstract: Multipotential stem cells can be selected from the bone marrow by plastic adhesion, expanded, and cultured. They are able to differentiate not only into multiple cell types, including cartilage, bone, adipose and fibrous tissues, and myelosupportive stroma, but also into mesodermal (endothelium), neuroectodermal, or endodermal (hepatocytes) lineages. Our goal was to characterize the multipotential capacities of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and to evaluate their ability to differentiate into insulin-secreting cells in vitro. hMSCs were obtained from healthy donors, selected by plastic adhesion, and phenotyped by fluorescence-activated cell sorter and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis before and after infection with adenoviruses coding for mouse IPF1, HLXB9, and FOXA2 transcription factors involved early in the endocrine developmental pathway. We found that native hMSCs have a pluripotent phenotype (OCT4 expression and high telomere length) and constitutively express NKX6-1 at a low level but lack all other transcription factors implicated in beta-cell differentiation. In all hMSCs, we detected mRNA of cytokeratin 18 and 19, epithelial markers present in pancreatic ductal cells, whereas proconvertase 1/3 mRNA expression was detected only in some hMSCs. Ectopic expression of IPF1, HLXB9, and FOXA2 with or without islet coculture or islet-conditioned medium results in insulin gene expression. In conclusion, our results demonstrated that in vitro human bone marrow stem cells are able to differentiate into insulin-expressing cells by a mechanism involving several transcription factors of the beta-cell developmental pathway when cultured in an appropriate microenvironment.

A new human somatic stem cell from placental cord blood with intrinsic pluripotent differentiation potential

Kögler G et al., J Exp Med. 2004 Jul 19;200(2):123-35

Abstract: Here a new, intrinsically pluripotent, CD45-negative population from human cord blood, termed unrestricted somatic stem cells (USSCs) is described. This rare population grows adherently and can be expanded to 10(15) cells without losing pluripotency. In vitro USSCs showed homogeneous differentiation into osteoblasts, chondroblasts, adipocytes, and hematopoietic and neural cells including astrocytes and neurons that express neurofilament, sodium channel protein, and various neurotransmitter phenotypes. Stereotactic implantation of USSCs into intact adult rat brain revealed that human Tau-positive cells persisted for up to 3 mo and showed migratory activity and a typical neuron-like morphology. In vivo differentiation of USSCs along mesodermal and endodermal pathways was demonstrated in animal models. Bony reconstitution was observed after transplantation of USSC-loaded calcium phosphate cylinders in nude rat femurs. Chondrogenesis occurred after transplanting cell-loaded gelfoam sponges into nude mice. Transplantation of USSCs in a noninjury model, the preimmune fetal sheep, resulted in up to 5% human hematopoietic engraftment. More than 20% albumin-producing human parenchymal hepatic cells with absence of cell fusion and substantial numbers of human cardiomyocytes in both atria and ventricles of the sheep heart were detected many months after USSC transplantation. No tumor formation was observed in any of these animals.



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