Comparison of the neural differentiation potential of human mesenchymal stem cells from amniotic fluid and adult bone marrow

Zhong-Jie Yan, Yu-Qin Hu, Hong-Tian Zhang, Peng Zhang, Zong-Yu Xiao, Xin-Lin Sun, Ying-Qian Cai, Chang-Chen Hu, Ru-Xiang Xu
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology 2013, 33 (4): 465-75
Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are considered a promising tool for cell-based therapies of nervous system diseases. Bone marrow (BM) has been the traditional source of MSCs (BM-MSCs). However, there are some limitations for their clinical use, such as the decline in cell number and differentiation potential with age. Recently, amniotic fluid (AF)-derived MSCs (AF-MSCs) have been shown to express embryonic and adult stem cell markers, and can differentiate into cells of all three germ layers. In this study, we isolated AF-MSCs from second-trimester AF by limiting dilution and compared their proliferative capacity, multipotency, neural differentiation ability, and secretion of neurotrophins to those of BM-MSCs. AF-MSCs showed a higher proliferative capacity and more rapidly formed and expanded neurospheres compared to those of BM-MSCs. Both immunocytochemical and quantitative real-time PCR analyses demonstrated that AF-MSCs showed higher expression of neural stemness markers than those of BM-MSCs following neural stem cell (NSC) differentiation. Furthermore, the levels of brain-derived growth factor and nerve growth factor secreted by AF-MSCs in the culture medium were higher than those of BM-MSCs. In addition, AF-MSCs maintained a normal karyotype in long-term cultures after NSC differentiation and were not tumorigenic in vivo. Our findings suggest that AF-MSCs are a promising and safe alternative to BM-MSCs for therapy of nervous system diseases.

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