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J Cell Sci. 2003 May 1;116(Pt 9):1827-35.

Molecular and cellular characterisation of highly purified stromal stem cells derived from human bone marrow.

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Mesenchymal Stem Cell Group, Division of Haematology, Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.


Previous studies have provided evidence for the existence of adult human bone marrow stromal stem cells (BMSSCs) or mesenchymal stem cells. Using a combination of cell separation techniques, we have isolated an almost homogeneous population of BMSSCs from adult human bone marrow. Lacking phenotypic characteristics of leukocytes and mature stromal elements, BMSSCs are non-cycling and constitutively express telomerase activity in vivo. This mesenchymal stem cell population demonstrates extensive proliferation and retains the capacity for differentiation into bone, cartilage and adipose tissue in vitro. In addition, clonal analysis demonstrated that individual BMSSC colonies exhibit a differential capacity to form new bone in vivo. These data are consistent with the existence of a second population of bone marrow stem cells in addition to those for the hematopoietic system. Our novel selection protocol provides a means to generate purified populations of BMSSCs for use in a range of different tissue engineering and gene therapy strategies.

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