Examining the feasibility of clinical grade CD271+ enrichment of mesenchymal stromal cells for bone regeneration

Richard J Cuthbert, Peter V Giannoudis, Xiao N Wang, Lindsay Nicholson, David Pawson, Anatole Lubenko, Hiang B Tan, Anne Dickinson, Dennis McGonagle, Elena Jones
PloS One 2015, 10 (3): e0117855

INTRODUCTION: Current clinical trials utilize mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) expanded in culture, however these interventions carry considerable costs and concerns pertaining to culture-induced losses of potency. This study assessed the feasibility of new clinical-grade technology to obtain uncultured MSC isolates from three human intra-osseous tissue sources based on immunomagnetic selection for CD271-positive cells.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: MSCs were isolated from bone marrow (BM) aspirates or surgical waste materials; enzymatically digested femoral heads (FHs) and reamer irrigator aspirator (RIA) waste fluids. Flow cytometry for the CD45-/lowCD73+CD271+ phenotype was used to evaluate uncultured MSCs before and after selection, and to measure MSC enrichment in parallel to colony forming-unit fibroblast assay. Trilineage differentiation assays and quantitative polymerase chain-reaction for key transcripts involved in bone regeneration was used to assess the functional utility of isolated cells for bone repair.

RESULTS: Uncultured CD45-/lowCD271+ MSCs uniformly expressed CD73, CD90 and CD105 but showed variable expression of MSCA-1 and SUSD2 (BM>RIA>FH). MSCs were enriched over 150-fold from BM aspirates and RIA fluids, whereas the highest MSC purities were obtained from FH digests. Enriched fractions expressed increased levels of BMP-2, COL1A2, VEGFC, SPARC and CXCL12 transcripts (BM>RIA>FH), with the highest up-regulation detected for CXCL12 in BM (>1300-fold). Following culture expansion, CD271-selected MSCS were tri-potential and phenotypically identical to plastic adherence-selected MSCs.

DISCUSSION: A CD271-based GMP-compliant immunomagnetic selection resulted in a substantial increase in MSC purity and elevated expression of transcripts involved in bone formation, vascularisation and chemo-attraction. Although this technology, particularly from RIA fluids, can be immediately applied by orthopaedic surgeons as autologous therapy, further improvements in MSC purities and pre-clinical testing of product safety would be required to develop this process for allogeneic applications.

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