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Stem Cells Dev. 2010 Apr;19(4):481-90. doi: 10.1089/scd.2009.0288.

Functional differences between mesenchymal stem cell populations are reflected by their transcriptome.

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Department of Tumor Immunology, Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Stem cells are widely studied to enable their use in tissue repair. However, differences in function and differentiation potential exist between distinct stem cell populations. Whether those differences are due to donor variation, cell culture, or intrinsic properties remains elusive. Therefore, we compared 3 cell lines isolated from 3 different niches using the Affymetrix Exon Array platform: the cord blood-derived neonatal unrestricted somatic stem cell (USSC), adult bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSC), and adult adipose tissue-derived stem cells (AdAS). While donor variation was minimal, large differences between stem cells of different origin were detected. BM-MSC and AdAS, outwardly similar, are more closely related to each other than to USSC. Interestingly, USSC expressed genes involved in the cell cycle and in neurogenesis, consistent with their reported neuronal differentiation capacity. The BM-MSC signature indicates that they are primed toward developmental processes of tissues and organs derived from the mesoderm and endoderm. Remarkably, AdAS appear to be highly enriched in immune-related genes. Together, the data suggest that the different mesenchymal stem cell types have distinct gene expression profiles, reflecting their origin and differentiation potential. Furthermore, these differences indicate a demand for effective differentiation protocols tailored to each stem cell type.

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