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Clonal Population of Adult Stem Cells: Life Span and Differentiation Potential

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Adult stem cells derived from bone marrow, connective tissue, and solid organs can exhibit a range of differentiation potentials. Some controversy exists regarding the classification of mesenchymal stem cells as bona fide stem cells, which is in part derived from the limited ability to propagate true clonal populations of precursor cells. We isolated putative mesenchymal stem cells from the connective tissue of an adult rat (rMSC), and generated clonal populations via three rounds of dilutional cloning. The replicative potential of the clonal rMSC line far exceeded Hayflick’s limit of 50–70 population doublings. The high capacity for self-renewal in vitro correlated with telomerase activity, as demonstrated by telomerase repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) assay. Exposure to nonspecific differentiation culture medium revealed multilineage differentiation potential of rMSC clones. Immunostaining confirmed the appearance of mesodermal phenotypes, including adipocytes possessing lipid-rich vacuoles, chondrocytes depositing pericellular type II collagen, and skeletal myoblasts expressing MyoD1. Importantly, the spectrum of differentiation capability was sustained through repeated passaging. Furthermore, serum-free conditions that led to high-efficiency smooth muscle differentiation were identified. rMSCs plated on collagen IV-coated surfaces and exposed to transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) differentiated into a homogeneous population expressing α-actin and calponin. Hence, clonogenic analysis confirmed the presence of a putative MSC population derived from the connective tissue of rat skeletal muscle. The ability to differentiate into a smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotype, combined with a high proliferative capacity, make such a connective tissue-derived MSC population ideal for applications in vascular tissue construction.
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Keywords: Differentiation; Growth factors; Mesenchymal stem cell; Smooth muscle cell

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: *Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032 2: †Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA 94305 3: ‡Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708 4: §Duke University Medical School, Durham, NC 27708 5: ¶Departments of Basic Medical Sciences and Pediatrics, Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, GA 31207

Publication date: 01 January 2004

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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