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Differentiation. 2014 Mar-Apr;87(3-4):147-60. doi: 10.1016/j.diff.2014.02.007. Epub 2014 Apr 6.

c-Kit identifies a subpopulation of mesenchymal stem cells in adipose tissue with higher telomerase expression and differentiation potential.

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Cell Engineering Laboratory, La Paz University Hospital Research Institute, Madrid, Spain.
Department of Internal Medicine, La Paz University Hospital, Madrid, Spain.
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Santa Cristina Hospital, and Centrocim, Madrid, Spain.
Department of Pathology, La Paz University Hospital, Madrid, Spain.
Cell Engineering Laboratory, La Paz University Hospital Research Institute, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:


The stromal vascular fraction (SVF) of adipose tissue is an easy to obtain source of adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs). We and others have achieved significant but suboptimal therapeutic effects with ADSCs in various settings, mainly due to low rates of differentiation into specific cell types and with the downside of undesired side effects as a consequence of the undifferentiated ADSCs. These data prompted us to find new stem cell-specific markers for ADSCs and/or subpopulations with higher differentiation potential to specific lineages. We found a subpopulation of human ADSCs, marked by c-Kit positiveness, resides in a perivascular location, and shows higher proliferative activity and self-renewal capacity, higher telomerase activity and expression, higher in vitro adipogenic efficiency, a higher capacity for the maintenance of cardiac progenitors, and higher pancreatogenic and hepatogenic efficiency independently of CD105 expression. Our data suggests that the isolation of ADSC subpopulations with anti-c-Kit antibodies allows for the selection of a more homogeneous subpopulation with increased cardioprotective properties and increased adipogenic and endodermal differentiation potential, providing a useful tool for specific therapies in regenerative medicine applications.


Adipose-derived stem cells; Differentiation; Pluripotency; Self-renewal; Telomerase; c-Kit

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