BACKGROUND: Human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) can be isolated from a variety of adult and perinatal tissues and exert multipotency and self renewal properties which make them suitable for cell-based therapy. Their potential plasticity extended to non-mesodermal-derived tissues has been indicated, although it is still a debated issue. In this study we have isolated MSCs from both adult and fetal tissues. Their growth, immunophenotype and multi-lineage differentiation potentials have been analyzed, focusing, in particular, on the hepatic differentiation. METHODS: Cells were isolated from bone marrow (BMSC), adipose tissue (ATSC) and second trimester amniotic fluid (AFSC), upon a written informed consent obtained from donor patients. Cells were expanded and growth kinetics was assessed by means of proliferation assay. Their immunophenotype was analyzed using cytometry and multi-lineage differentiation potential was evaluated by means of in vitro differentiation assays. Finally, the expression of tissue-specific markers was also assessed by mean of semi-quantitative PCR. RESULTS: Bipolar spindle-shaped cells were successfully isolated from all these tissues. Interestingly, ATSCs and AFSCs showed a higher proliferation potential than BMSCs. Mesodermal differentiation capacity was verified in all MSC populations, even if AFSCs were not able to undergo adipogenesis in our culture conditions. Furthermore, we showed that MSC cultured in appropriate conditions were able to induce hepatic-associated genes, such as ALB and TDO2. CONCLUSION: Taken together the data here reported suggest that MSCs from both adult and fetal tissues are capable of tissue-specific commitment along mesodermal and non-mesodermal lineages. In particular we have demonstrated that a specific hepatogenic commitment can be efficiently induced, proposing these cells as suitable tool for cell-based applications aimed at liver regeneration.
- hepatic lineage
- mesenchymal stem cells