Impact of aging on the regenerative properties of bone marrow-, muscle-, and adipose-derived mesenchymal stem/stromal cells

Olivia S Beane, Vera C Fonseca, Leroy L Cooper, Gideon Koren, Eric M Darling
PloS One 2014, 9 (12): e115963
Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) are promising cell sources for regenerative therapies due to their multipotency and ready availability, but their application can be complicated by patient-specific factors like age or illness. MSCs have been investigated for the treatment of many musculoskeletal disorders, including osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Due to the prevalence of these diseases in older populations, researchers have studied how aging affects MSC properties and have found that proliferation and differentiation potential are impaired. However, these effects have never been compared among MSCs isolated from multiple tissue sources in the same, healthy donor. Revealing differences in how MSCs are affected by age could help identify an optimal cell source for musculoskeletal therapies targeting older patients. MSCs were isolated from young and old rabbit bone marrow, muscle, and adipose tissue. Cell yield and viability were quantified after isolation procedures, and expansion properties were assessed using assays for proliferation, senescence, and colony formation. Multipotency was also examined using lineage-specific stains and spectrophotometry of metabolites. Results were compared between age groups and among MSC sources. Results showed that MSCs are differentially influenced by aging, with bone marrow-derived stem cells having impaired proliferation, senescence, and chondrogenic response, whereas muscle-derived stem cells and adipose-derived stem cells exhibited no negative effects. While age reduced overall cell yield and adipogenic potential of all MSC populations, osteogenesis and clonogenicity remained unchanged. These findings indicate the importance of age as a factor when designing cell-based therapies for older patients.

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