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Stem Cells Dev. 2012 Nov 1;21(16):2949-57. doi: 10.1089/scd.2012.0039. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

Adipose-derived stem cell collection and characterization in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

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  • 1National Marine Mammal Foundation, San Diego, California, USA. shawn.johnson@nmmfoundation.org


To assess the regenerative properties and potential therapeutic value of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) in the bottlenose dolphin, there is a need to determine whether an adequate adipose depot exists, in addition to the development of a standardized technique for minimally invasive adipose collection. In this study, an ultrasound-guided liposuction technique for adipose collection was assessed for its safety and efficacy. The ultrasound was utilized to identify and measure the postnuchal adipose depot and aid in the guidance of the liposuction cannula during aspiration. Liposuction procedures from 6 dolphins yielded 0.9-12.7 g of adipose. All samples yielded sufficient nucleated cells to initiate primary cell cultures, and at passage 2, were successfully differentiated into adipogenic, chondrogenic, neurogenic, and osteogenic cell lineages. The cultured dolphin cells expressed known stem-cell-associated CD markers, CD44 and CD90. Ultrasound-guided liposuction proved to be a safe and minimally invasive procedure that resulted in the successful isolation of ASCs in bottlenose dolphins. This is the first article that conclusively establishes the presence of stem cells in the dolphin.

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