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Blood. 2001 Nov 1;98(9):2615-25.

Purification and ex vivo expansion of postnatal human marrow mesodermal progenitor cells.

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Stem Cell Institute, Department of Medicine, and Cancer Center, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


It is here reported that mesenchymal stem cells known to give rise to limb-bud mesoderm can, at the single-cell level, also differentiate into cells of visceral mesoderm and can be expanded extensively by means of clinically applicable methods. These cells were named mesodermal progenitor cells (MPCs). MPCs were selected by depleting bone marrow mononuclear cells from more than 30 healthy human donors of CD45(+)/glycophorin-A (GlyA)(+) cells. Cells were cultured on fibronectin with epidermal growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor BB and 2% or less fetal calf serum. It was found that 1/5 x 10(3) CD45(-)GlyA(-) cells, or 1/10(6) bone marrow mononuclear cells, gave rise to clusters of small adherent cells. Cell-doubling time was 48 to 72 hours, and cells have been expanded in culture for more than 60 cell doublings. MPCs are CD34(-), CD44(low), CD45(-), CD117 (cKit)(-), class I-HLA(-), and HLA-DR(-). MPCs differentiated into cells of limb-bud mesoderm (osteoblasts, chondrocytes, adipocytes, stroma cells, and skeletal myoblasts) as well as visceral mesoderm (endothelial cells). Retroviral marking was used to definitively prove that single MPCs can differentiate into cells of limb bud and visceral mesoderm. Thus, MPCs that proliferate without obvious senescence under clinically applicable conditions and differentiate at the single-cell level not only into mesenchymal cells but also cells of visceral mesoderm may be an ideal source of stem cells for treatment of genetic or degenerative disorders affecting cells of mesodermal origin.

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