Comparison of the osteogenic capacity of minipig and human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells

Terhi J Heino, Jessica J Alm, Niko Moritz, Hannu T Aro
Journal of Orthopaedic Research: Official Publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society 2012, 30 (7): 1019-25
Minipigs are a recommended large animal model for preclinical testing of human orthopedic implants. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are the key repair cells in bone healing and implant osseointegration, but the osteogenic capacity of minipig MSCs is incompletely known. The aim of this study was to isolate and characterize minipig bone marrow (BM) and peripheral blood (PB) MSCs in comparison to human BM-MSCs. BM sample was aspirated from posterior iliac crest of five male Göttingen minipigs (age 15 ± 1 months). PB sample was drawn for isolation of circulating MSCs. MSCs were selected by plastic-adherence as originally described by Friedenstein. Cell morphology, colony formation, proliferation, surface marker expression, and differentiation were examined. Human BM-MSCs were isolated and cultured from adult fracture patients (n = 13, age 19-60 years) using identical techniques. MSCs were found in all minipig BM samples, but no circulating MSCs could be detected. Minipig BM-MSCs had similar morphology, proliferation, and colony formation capacities as human BM-MSCs. Unexpectedly, minipig BM-MSCs had a significantly lower ability than human BM-MSCs to form differentiated and functional osteoblasts. This observation emphasizes the need for species-specific optimization of MSC culture protocol before direct systematic comparison of MSCs between human and various preclinical large animal models can be made.

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