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Urology. 2013 Feb;81(2):465.e15-22. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2012.10.030.

Differentiation of human adipose-derived stem cells co-cultured with urothelium cell line toward a urothelium-like phenotype in a nude murine model.

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Department of Urology, Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.



To investigated the urothelium differentiation potential of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) that were coimplanted with the immortalized human bladder urothelium cell line (SV-HUC-1) into the subcutaneous tissue of athymic mice.


The ASCs were isolated from the human adipose tissue of patients undergoing liposuction procedures and were expanded in vitro. After labeling with CM-DiI, the ASCs were mixed with SV-HUC-1 and implanted into the subcutaneous tissue of athymic mice for 2 and 4 weeks. The urothelium-specific markers uroplakin-Ia and uroplakin-II were detected by immunofluorescence. The transformation rate of ASCs into the urothelium phenotype was evaluated at each measurement point.


We found that 25.87% ± 1.38% of ASCs expressed the urothelium-specific marker uroplakin-Ia and 23.60% ± 2.57% of ASCs expressed uroplakin-II 2 weeks after coimplantation with SV-HUC-1 in vivo. After 4 weeks, 70.07% ± 3.84% of ASCs expressed uroplakin-Ia and 65.56% ± 2.94% expressed uroplakin-II. However, no obvious organizational multilayered urothelium structure, such as that of the native bladder mucosa, was found in the subcutaneous tissues of the athymic mice.


The results of our study have demonstrated that ASCs could be differentiated toward the urothelium-like phenotype when they were coimplanted in direct contact with cells of a mature urothelium cell line, and the proportion of differentiated cells increased from 2 to 4 weeks. The differentiation potential of ASCs toward the urothelial cell type suggests that ASCs might have potential to be used in urinary tract repair with a tissue engineering approach in the future.

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