Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells markers in the human bone marrow

Valeria Rasini, Massimo Dominici, Torsten Kluba, Georg Siegel, Giulia Lusenti, Hinnak Northoff, Edwin M Horwitz, Richard Schäfer
Cytotherapy 2013, 15 (3): 292-306

BACKGROUND AIMS: Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) can be isolated from human bone marrow (BM), expanded ex vivo and identified via numerous surface antigens. Despite the importance of these cells in regenerative therapy programs, it is unclear whether the cell membrane signature defining MSC preparations ex vivo is determined during culture or may reflect an in vivo counterpart. BM-MSC phenotype in vivo requires further investigation.

METHODS: To characterize cells in their natural BM environment, we performed multi-parametric immunohistochemistry on trabecular bone biopsy specimens from multiple donors and described cells by different morphology and micro-anatomic localization in relationship to a precise pattern of MSC antigen expression.

RESULTS: Microscopically examined high-power field marrow sections revealed an overlapping in vivo expression of antigens characterizing ex vivo expanded BM-MSCs, including CD10, CD73, CD140b, CD146, GD2 and CD271. Expanding this panel to proteins associated with pluripotency, such as Oct4, Nanog and SSEA-4, we were able to identify different cellular populations in the human trabecular bone and BM expressing different progenitor cell markers.

CONCLUSIONS: Targeting several multipotency and pluripotency markers, we found that the BM contains identifiable and distinct progenitor cells further justifying their introduction for a wide range of applications in regenerative medicine.

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