Annals of Hematology

, Volume 91, Issue 8, pp 1175–1186 | Cite as

Donor age and long-term culture affect differentiation and proliferation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells

  • Merve Zaim
  • Serap Karaman
  • Guven Cetin
  • Sevim Isik
Original Article


Bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem cells (BM-hMSCs) represent a promising cell-based therapy for a number of degenerative conditions. Many applications require cell expansion and involve the treatment of diseases and conditions found in an aging population. Therefore, the effects of donor age and long-term passage must be clarified. In this study, the effects of donor age and long-term passage on the morphology, proliferation potential, characteristics, mesodermal differentiation ability, and transdifferentiation potential of hMSCs towards neurogenic lineage were evaluated. Cells from child donors (0–12 years, n = 6) maintained their fibroblast-like morphology up to higher passages and proliferated in a greater number than those from adult (25–50 years, n = 6) and old (over 60 years, n = 6) donors. Adipogenic, osteogenic, and neurogenic differentiation potential decreased with age, while chondrogenic potential did not change. Long-term passage affected the morphology and proliferation of hMSCs from all ages. With increasing passage number, proliferation rate decreased and cells lost their typical morphology. Expression levels of neural markers (β III tubulin and NSE) and topo II isoforms in populations of nondifferentiated hMSCs were investigated by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis. While neural marker and topo IIβ expression levels increased due to increasing passage number in adult hMSCs compared to child hMSCs, topo IIα decreased in both. These results indicated that, even under highly standardized culture conditions, donor age and long-term passage have effects on hMSC characteristics, which should be taken into account prior to stem cell-based therapies.


Human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells Differentiation Age Neural transdifferentiation Long-term passage 



We thank Assist. Prof. Dr. M. Fatih Abasıyanık and Assist. Prof. Dr. Lokman Alpsoy for the statistical analysis and Dr. Mustafa Ulasli for the figure design. We also thank Nihal Karakas for the technical support in the experiments.


This work was supported by the Fatih University Research Project Foundation (project number: P50031002 (1164)).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Merve Zaim
    • 1
  • Serap Karaman
    • 2
  • Guven Cetin
    • 3
  • Sevim Isik
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyFatih UniversityBuyukcekmeceTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Pediatric HematologySisli Etfal Education and Research HospitalIstanbulTurkey
  3. 3.Clinic of HematologyIstanbul Education and Research HospitalFatihTurkey

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