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Mol Biotechnol. 2002 Mar;20(3):245-56.

Human marrow-derived mesenchymal progenitor cells: isolation, culture expansion, and analysis of differentiation.

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  • 1Cartilage Biology and Orthopedics Branch, National Institute of Arthritis, and Musculoskeletal Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20992-5755, USA.


A number of adult mesenchymal tissues contain subpopulations of undifferentiated cells, which retain the capacity to differentiate along multiple lineages. These mesenchymal progenitor cells may be cultured in an undifferentiated state and, when given the appropriate signals, differentiate into an expanding list of several mesenchymal and a few ectodermal derived tissues. The maintenance and propagation of the multipotential nature of these progenitor cell populations are crucially dependent on the isolation protocol, the culture expansion conditions, particularly the properties of the fetal bovine serum supplement in the culture medium. This article describes a method for selection of the appropriate serum lot, and introduces a simplified isolation technique to optimize the yield of progenitor cells that maintain the capability of undergoing multilineage differentiation in response to appropriate cues. Cell populations isolated and culture expanded in this manner, by virtue of their multiple differentiation potential, should serve as ideal candidate cells for tissue engineering applications for the repair and regeneration of tissue damaged by disease and or trauma.

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