Adipose-derived stem cells from pregnant women show higher proliferation rate unrelated to estrogen

L W C Ng, S K Yip, H K Wong, Gary H Yam, Y M Liu, W T Lui, C C Wang, K W Choy
Human Reproduction 2009, 24 (5): 1164-70

BACKGROUND: Adipose tissue contains an abundant population of multipotent adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) and has been an excellent source of mesenchymal stem cells for cell therapy and tissue engineering. To ensure successful cell therapies, consistency of stem cell performance across donors is critical. However, the effect of the donor's reproductive status on ASC proliferation rate and differentiation capacity is undefined.

METHODS: We investigated whether the yield and function of ASCs are affected by the woman's reproductive status: pregnancy, premenopause or menopause. ASCs were isolated from the abdomen of 15 women and their proliferation rates and differentiation capacities were compared by cell count. The capacity of ASCs to differentiate into the chondrogenic lineage was investigated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry.

RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the differentiation capacity between the three groups, whereas the proliferation rate of ASCs from pregnant women was significantly higher than from the other two groups (P < 0.05). The proliferation rate of ASCs after estrogen treatment remained unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the higher proliferation rate in pregnant women, ASCs showed consistency in cell differentiation capacity and were unaffected by donor status. This suggests that factors other than estrogen are responsible for the difference in proliferation.

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