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Biomaterials. 2004 Jul;25(16):3233-43.

Matrix-mediated retention of osteogenic differentiation potential by human adult bone marrow stromal cells during ex vivo expansion.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Biotechnology Center, Tufts University, 4 Colby Street, Medford, MA 02155, USA.


During prolonged cultivation ex vivo, adult bone marrow stromal stem cells (BMSCs) undergo two probably interdependent processes, replicative aging and a decline in differentiation potential. Recently, our results with primary human fibroblasts indicated that growth on denatured collagen (DC) matrix results in the reduction of the rate of cellular aging. The present study has been undertaken to test whether the growth of human BMSCs under the same conditions would translate into preservation of cellular aging-attenuated functions, such as the ability to express HSP70 in response to stress as well as of osteogenic differentiation potential. We report here that growth of BMSCs on a DC matrix versus tissue culture polystyrene significantly reduced one of the main manifestations of cellular aging, the attenuation of the ability to express a major protective stress response component, HSP70, increased the proliferation capacity of ex vivo expanded BMSCs, reduced the rate of morphological changes, and resulted in a dramatic increase in the retention of the potential to express osteogenic-specific functions and markers upon treatment with osteogenic stimulants. BMSCs are a promising and increasingly important cell source for tissue engineering as well as cell and gene therapeutic strategies. For use of BMSCs in these applications, ex vivo expansion is necessary to obtain a sufficient, therapeutically useful, number of cells; however, this results in the loss of differentiation potential. This problem is especially acute in older patients where more extensive in vitro expansion of smaller number of stem/progenitor cells is needed. The finding that growth on certain biomaterials preserves aging-attenuated functions, enhances proliferation capacity, and maintains differentiation potential of BMSCs indicates a promising approach to address this problem.

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