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Open Access Characterization, GFP Gene Nucleofection, and Allotransplantation in Injured Tendons of Ovine Amniotic Fluid-Derived Stem Cells

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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.

Keywords: Amniotic fluid stem cells (AFMSCs); GFP reporter gene; Nucleofection; Sheep; Tendon healing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, University of Teramo, Teramo, Italy

Publication date: 2013-01-01

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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.
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