Phenotype, donor age and gender affect function of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells

Georg Siegel, Torsten Kluba, Ursula Hermanutz-Klein, Karen Bieback, Hinnak Northoff, Richard Schäfer
BMC Medicine 2013, 11: 146

BACKGROUND: Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are attractive for cell-based therapies ranging from regenerative medicine and tissue engineering to immunomodulation. However, clinical efficacy is variable and it is unclear how the phenotypes defining bone marrow (BM)-derived MSCs as well as donor characteristics affect their functional properties.

METHODS: BM-MSCs were isolated from 53 (25 female, 28 male; age: 13 to 80 years) donors and analyzed by: (1) phenotype using flow cytometry and cell size measurement; (2) in vitro growth kinetics using population doubling time; (3) colony formation capacity and telomerase activity; and (4) function by in vitro differentiation capacity, suppression of T cell proliferation, cytokines and trophic factors secretion, and hormone and growth factor receptor expression. Additionally, expression of Oct4, Nanog, Prdm14 and SOX2 mRNA was compared to pluripotent stem cells.

RESULTS: BM-MSCs from younger donors showed increased expression of MCAM, VCAM-1, ALCAM, PDGFRβ, PDL-1, Thy1 and CD71, and led to lower IL-6 production when co-cultured with activated T cells. Female BM-MSCs showed increased expression of IFN-γR1 and IL-6β, and were more potent in T cell proliferation suppression. High-clonogenic BM-MSCs were smaller, divided more rapidly and were more frequent in BM-MSC preparations from younger female donors. CD10, β1integrin, HCAM, CD71, VCAM-1, IFN-γR1, MCAM, ALCAM, LNGFR and HLA ABC were correlated to BM-MSC preparations with high clonogenic potential and expression of IFN-γR1, MCAM and HLA ABC was associated with rapid growth of BM-MSCs. The mesodermal differentiation capacity of BM-MSCs was unaffected by donor age or gender but was affected by phenotype (CD10, IFN-γR1, GD2). BM-MSCs from female and male donors expressed androgen receptor and FGFR3, and secreted VEGF-A, HGF, LIF, Angiopoietin-1, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and NGFB. HGF secretion correlated negatively to the expression of CD71, CD140b and Galectin 1. The expression of Oct4, Nanog and Prdm14 mRNA in BM-MSCs was much lower compared to pluripotent stem cells and was not related to donor age or gender. Prdm14 mRNA expression correlated positively to the clonogenic potential of BM-MSCs.

CONCLUSIONS: By identifying donor-related effects and assigning phenotypes of BM-MSC preparations to functional properties, we provide useful tools for assay development and production for clinical applications of BM-MSC preparations.

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