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Stem Cells Dev. 2009 Apr;18(3):497-510. doi: 10.1089/scd.2008.0003.

Mesenchymal stromal cells can be derived from bone marrow CD133+ cells: implications for therapy.

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Stem Cell Processing Laboratory and Cord Blood Bank, Department of Pediatric Oncohematology, University of Padua, Italy.


It is known that the bone marrow (BM) CD133(+) cells play an important role in the hematopoietic compartment, but this is not their only role. The cells indeed can take part in vascular reconstitution when they become endothelial cells (EC), in skeletal muscle fiber regeneration when there is a switch in muscle precursors, and to cardiomyocyte phenotypic conversion when differentiating in cardiomyocytes-like cells. While the role in hematopoiesis and vasculogenesis of the selected cells is well established, their ability to differentiate along multiple non-EC lineages has not yet been fully elucidated. The goal of this study is to assert whether human CD133(+)BM-derived cells are able to differentiate in vitro, besides to blood cells, cell lineages pertinent to the mesoderm germ layers. To this end, we isolated CD133(+) cells using a clinically approved methodology and compared their differentiation potential to that of hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) obtained from the same BM samples. In our culture conditions, CD133 expression was consistently decreased after passage 2, as well as the expression of the stemness markers c-kit and OCT4, whereas expression of Stage Specific Embryonic Antigen 4 (SSEA4) remained consistent in all different conditions. Expanded CD133 were also positive for HLA-ABC, but negative for HLA-DR, in accordance with what has been previously reported for MSCs. Moreover, CD133(+) cells from human BM demonstrated a wide range of differentiation potential, encompassing not only mesodermal but also ectodermal (neurogenic) cell lineages. CD133 antigen could be potentially used to select a cell population with similar characteristics as MSCs for therapeutic applications.

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