Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells characterized by their self-renewal and differentiation potential. Accumulating clinical and preclinical evidence indicate MSCs are a promising cell source for regenerative medical therapies. However, undesirable immortalization, spontaneous transformation, and tumorigenic potential from long-term cultured MSCs have been reported in human and mouse. We report rat MSCs isolated from young donors could undergo transformation in early passage culture. We aimed to characterize the transformed population and determine their therapeutic effects after intracardiac transplantation in the infarcted myocardium. MSCs were isolated from bone marrow of Lewis rats according to standard protocols and cultured under standard conditions. Phenotype of growing cells was assessed by flow cytometry. Following acute myocardial infarction in rats, cells were delivered by intracardiac injection. Cardiac functions were assessed by pressure‐volume loops. Infarction size and pathologic effects were evaluated after 6 weeks. The abnormal colonies were detected in culture as early at passage 3. They were noted to appear as distinctly different morphology from typical MSCs, which changed from a normal elongated spindle shape to a compact abnormal morphology. They exhibited rapid cell proliferation. Some subclones lost contact inhibition of cell division and formed multilayer aggregates. Chromosomal instability was detected. They were devoid of surface markers CD29, CD44, CD90, and CD117. Furthermore, there was no significant improvement on infarction size and cardiac function 6 weeks after cell transplantation. Our study highlights the need for establishment of biosafety criteria in regulating culture- expanded MSCs to achieve the full clinical therapeutic benefits.
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Mesenchymal stem cells;
Document Type: Research Article
Department of Cardiac Surgery, University Rostock, Rostock, Germany
Publication date: 2009-03-01
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