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Biol Cell. 2011 Sep;103(9):435-47. doi: 10.1042/BC20110033.

Adipose stem cells originate from perivascular cells.

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Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Recent research has shown that adipose tissues contain abundant MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells). The origin and location of the adipose stem cells, however, remain unknown, presenting an obstacle to the further purification and study of these cells. In the present study, we aimed at investigating the origins of adipose stem cells. α-SMA (α-smooth muscle actin) is one of the markers of pericytes. We harvested ASCs (adipose stromal cells) from α-SMA-GFP (green fluorescent protein) transgenic mice and sorted them into GFP-positive and GFP-negative cells by FACS. Multilineage differentiation tests were applied to examine the pluripotent ability of the α-SMA-GFP-positive and -negative cells. Immunofluorescent staining for α-SMA and PDGF-Rβ (platelet-derived growth factor receptor β) were applied to identify the α-SMA-GFP-positive cells. Then α-SMA-GFP-positive cells were loaded on a collagen-fibronectin gel with endothelial cells to test their vascularization ability both in vitro and in vivo. Results show that, in adipose tissue, all of the α-SMA-GFP-positive cells congregate around the blood vessels. Only the α-SMA-GFP-positive cells have multilineage differentiation ability, while the α-SMA-GFP-negative cells can only differentiate in an adipogenic direction. The α-SMA-GFP-positive cells maintained expression of α-SMA during multilineage differentiation. The α-SMA-GFP-positive cells can promote the vascularization of endothelial cells in three-dimensional culture both in vitro and in vivo. We conclude that the adipose stem cells originate from perivascular cells and congregate around blood vessels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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