Differentiation of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells into steroidogenic cells in comparison to bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells

X Wei, G Peng, S Zheng, X Wu
Cell Proliferation 2012, 45 (2): 101-10

OBJECTIVES: Human umbilical cord can be obtained easily and it represents a non-controversial source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and umbilical cord Wharton's jelly-derived MSCs (UC-MSCs) have low immunogenicity. In this study, UC-MSCs were induced to become steroidogenic cells and compared to bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: UC-MSCs and BM-MSCs were induced to differentiate into steroidogenic cells by infection with adenovirus containing SF-1. Expression of steroidogenic mRNA was analysed by real-time RT-PCR and steroid secretion was detected by ELISA testing. Viability of differentiated cells was examined using cell counting kit-8 assay.

RESULTS: Both UC-MSCs and BM-MSCs expressed typical MSC markers and could differentiate into adipocytes, osteocytes and chondrocytes and both cell types had the potential to differentiate into steroidogenic cells after being infected with adenovirus containing SF-1 cDNA. However, UC-MSCs had significantly higher proliferative potential than BM-MSCs and differentiated UC-MSCs had significantly higher expression of all steroidogenic mRNAs tested over those of differentiated BM-MSCs; this included P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme, 3β-HSD, 17β-HSD type 3, LH-R, ACTH-R, P450c21 and CYP17. In addition, differentiated UC-MSCs secreted significantly more steroidogenic hormones than differentiated BM-MSCs, including testosterone and cortisol. Furthermore, differentiated UC-MSCs had significantly higher cell viability than differentiated BM-MSCs.

CONCLUSIONS: UC-MSCs had significantly higher potential of steroidogenic differentiation than BM-MSCs; thus, UC-MSCs could be favourable cells of choice for cell-based therapy for steroidogenic insufficiency compared to BM-MSCs.

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