Original Research


, Volume 64, Issue 5, pp 523-540

First online:

A comparative study on nonviral genetic modifications in cord blood and bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells

  • Behnaz BakhshandehAffiliated withDepartment of Biotechnology, College of Science, University of TehranStem Cell Biology Department, Stem Cell Technology Research Center
  • , Masoud SoleimaniAffiliated withDepartment of Hematology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University Email author 
  • , Maryam HafiziAffiliated withStem Cell Biology Department, Stem Cell Technology Research Center
  • , Nasser GhaemiAffiliated withSchool of Chemistry, College of Science, University of Tehran

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The focus of both clinical and basic studies on stem cells is increasing due to their potentials in regenerative medicine and cell-based therapies. Recently stem cells have been genetically modified to enhance an existing character in or to bring a new property to them. However, accomplishment of declared goals requires detailed knowledge about their molecular characteristics which could be achieved by genetic modifications mostly through nonviral transfection strategies. Capable of differentiating into multiple cells, human unrestricted somatic stem cells (hUSSCs) and human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) seem to be suitable candidates for transfection approaches. Involvement of microRNAs (miRNAs) in many biological processes makes their transfection evaluation valuable. Herein we investigated the efficacy and toxicity of four typically used transfection reagents (Arrest-In, Lipofectamine 2000, Oligofectamine and HiPerfect) systematically to deliver fluorescent labeled-miRNA and Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) expressing plasmid into hUSSCs and hMSCs. The authenticity of stem cells was verified by differentiation experiments along with flow cytometry of surface markers. Our study revealed that stemness properties of these stem cells were not affected by transient transfection. Moreover the ratios of cell viability and transfection efficiency in both analyzed stem cells were reversed. Considering cell viability, the highest fraction of GFP-expressing cells was obtained using Oligofectamine (~50%) while the highest transfection rate of miRNA was achieved by Lipofectamine 2000 (~90%). Moreover dependency of hMSCs to size of transfected nucleic acid and time-dependency of Oligofectamine and their affection on the yield of transfection were observed. Cytotoxicity assessments also showed that hUSSCs are sensitive to HiPerFect. In addition cells treated by Lipofectamine showed morphological changes. Representing the efficient nucleic acid transfection, our research facilitates comprehensive genetic modification of stem cells and demonstrates powerful approaches to understand stem cell molecular regulation mechanisms, which eventually improves nonviral cell-mediated gene therapy.


Nonviral transfection USSC Mesenchymal stromal cells microRNA Plasmid