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Differentiation. 2007 Apr;75(4):279-91. Epub 2006 Dec 11.

Human placenta and bone marrow derived MSC cultured in serum-free, b-FGF-containing medium express cell surface frizzled-9 and SSEA-4 and give rise to multilineage differentiation.

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Department of Internal Medicine II, Division of Hematology, Immunology, Oncology and Rheumatology, University Clinic of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.


Conventionally, mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are generated by plating cells from bone marrow (BM) or other sources into culture flasks and selecting plastic-adherent cells with fibroblastoid morphology. These cells express CD9, CD10, CD13, CD73, CD105, CD166, and other markers but show only a weak or no expression of the embryonic markers stage-specific embryonic antigen-4 (SSEA-4), Oct-4 and nanog-3. Using a novel protocol we prepared MSC from BM and non-amniotic placenta (PL) by culture of Ficoll-selected cells in gelatin-coated flasks in the presence of a serum-free, basic fibroblast growth factor (b-FGF)-containing medium that was originally designed for the expansion of human embryonic stem cells (ESC). MSC generated in gelatin-coated flasks in the presence of ESC medium revealed a four-to fivefold higher proliferation rate than conventionally prepared MSC which were grown in uncoated flasks in serum-containing medium. In contrast, the colony forming unit fibroblast number was only 1.5- to twofold increased in PL-MSC and not affected in BM-MSC. PL-MSC grown in ESC medium showed an increased surface expression of SSEA-4 and frizzled-9 (FZD-9), an increased Oct-4 and nestin mRNA expression, and an induced expression of nanog-3. BM-MSC showed an induced expression of FZD-9, nanog-3, and Oct-4. In contrast to PL-MSC, only BM-MSC expressed the MSC-specific W8B2 antigen. When cultured under appropriate conditions, these MSC gave rise to functional adipocytes and osteoblast-like cells (mesoderm), glucagon and insulin expressing pancreatic-like cells (endoderm), as well as cells expressing the neuronal markers neuron-specific enolase, glutamic acid decarboxylase-67 (GAD), or class III beta-tubulin, and the astrocyte marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (ectoderm). In conclusion, using a novel protocol we demonstrate that adult BM-and neonatal PL-derived MSC can be induced to express high levels of FZD-9, Oct-4, nanog-3, and nestin and are able of multi-lineage differentiation.

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