Characterization, GFP Gene Nucleofection, and Allotransplantation in Injured Tendons of Ovine Amniotic Fluid-Derived Stem Cells
Abstract:Amniotic fluid has drawn increasing attention in the recent past as a cost-effective and accessible source of fetal stem cells. Amniotic fluid-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AFMSCs) that display high proliferation rate, large spectrum of differentiation potential, and immunosuppressive features are considered optimal candidates for allogeneic repair of mesenchymal damaged tissues. In this study, ovine AFMSCs (oAFMSCs) isolated from 3-month-old sheep fetuses were characterized for their proliferation rate, specific surface antigen and pluripotency marker expression, genomic stability, and mesenchymal lineage differentiation during their in vitro expansion (12 passages) and after nucleofection. The high proliferation rate of oAFMSCs gradually decreased during the first six subculture passages while the expression of surface molecules (CD29, CD58, CD166) and of pluripotency-associated markers (OCT4, TERT, NANOG, SOX2), the in vitro osteogenic differentiation potential, and a normal karyotype were maintained. Afterwards, oAFMSCs were nucleofected with a selectable plasmid coding for green fluorescent protein (GFP) using two different programs, U23 and C17, previously optimized for human mesenchymal stem cells. Transfection efficiencies were ∼63% and ∼37%, while cell recoveries were ∼10% and ∼22%, respectively. Nucleofected oAFMSCs expressing the GFP transgene conserved their pluripotency marker profile and retained a normal karyotype and the osteogenic differentiation ability. Seven single clones with a GFP expression ranging from 80% to 97% were then isolated and expanded over 1 month, thus providing stably transfected cells with long-term therapeutic potential. The in vivo behavior of GFP-labeled oAFMSCs was tested on a previously validated preclinical model of experimentally induced Achille's tendon defect. The allotransplanted oAFMSCs were able to survive within the host tissue for 1 month enhancing the early phase of tendon healing as indicated by morphological and biomechanical results. Altogether these data suggest that genetically modified oAFMSCs might represent a valuable tool for in vivo preclinical studies in a highly valid translational model.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, University of Teramo, Teramo, Italy
Publication date: 2013-01-01
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