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Transplant Proc. 2006 Apr;38(3):967-9.

Bloodstream cells phenotypically identical to human mesenchymal bone marrow stem cells circulate in large amounts under the influence of acute large skin damage: new evidence for their use in regenerative medicine.

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Centro Unico Coordinador de Ablación e Implante de Buenos Aires (CUCAIBA), Ministry of Health, Buenos Aires, Argentina.



Recent work has shown that human bone marrow contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). However, little is known about their presence in peripheral blood. Since these cells are potentially responsible for tissue repair after injury, their number should be increased during these situations. To demonstrate their number during these situations, we measured MSCs in the peripheral blood of healthy donors and burn patients.


Blood samples were obtained from 15 acute burn patients and 15 healthy donors. We performed flow cytometric analysis, using a large monoclonal antibody panel: CD44, CD45, CD14, DR, CD34, CD19, CD13, CD29, CD105, CD1a, CD90, CD38, CD25. MSC phenotype was considered positive for CD44, CD13, CD29, CD90, and CD105, and negative for the other monoclonals. The testing was performed on day 3 after injury. We correlated the results with the age, sex, and size and type of burns.


Cells expressing the MSC phenotype were detected in the peripheral blood of both groups. Noteworthy, compared with samples from healthy donors (0.0078 +/- 0.0044), blood obtained from burn patients showed a higher MSC percentage (0.1643 +/- 0.115; P < .001). The percentage of MSCs correlated with the size and severity of the burn. Increased values were also observed among younger patients.


MSCs have an important role in regenerative processes of human tissues. We found cells phenotypically identical to MSCs circulating in physiological number in normal subjects, but in significantly higher amounts during acute large burns. Therefore, they may represent a previously unrecognized circulatory component to the process of skin regeneration.

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