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Cell Tissue Res. 2007 Mar;327(3):471-83. Epub 2006 Nov 16.

Human and rodent bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells that express primitive stem cell markers can be directly enriched by using the CD49a molecule.

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  • 1Inserm U645, IFR 133, Establissement Français du Sang Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Université de Besançon, Besançon, France.


Bone marrow (BM) from human and rodent species contains a population of multipotential cells referred to as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Currently, MSCs are isolated indirectly by using a culture step and then the generation of fibroblast colony-forming units (CFU-fs). Unprocessed or native BM MSCs have not yet been fully characterised. We have previously developed a direct enrichment method for the isolation of MSCs from human BM by using the CD49a protein (alpha1-integrin subunit). As the CD49a gene is highly conserved in mammals, we have evaluated whether this direct enrichment can be employed for BM cells from rodent strains (rat and mouse). We have also studied the native phenotype by using both immunodetection and immunomagnetic methods and have compared MSCs from mouse, rat and human BM. As is the case for human BM, we have demonstrated that all rodent multipotential CFU-fs are contained within the CD49a-positive cell population. However, in the mouse, the number of CFU-fs is strain-dependent. Interestingly, all rat and mouse Sca-1-positive cells are concentrated within the CD49a-positive fraction and also contain all CFU-fs. In human, the colonies have been detected in the CD49a/CD133 double-positive population. Thus, the CD49a protein is a conserved marker that permits the direct enrichment of BM MSCs from various mammalian species; these cells have been phenotyped as true BM stem cells.

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