Biological characterization of long-term cultured human mesenchymal stem cells
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Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) have generated a great deal of interest in clinical applications. The reason is that they may have the plasticity needed to differentiate into multiple lineages and the ability to expand ex vivo. For the therapeutic applications of hMSCs to be of practical use, it is crucial to assess the efficacy and safety of hMSCs in long-term ex vivo expansion. In this study, we cultured hMSCs by population doubling (PD) 60, and investigated their growth, osteogenic and adipogenic differential abilities, change of surface markers, telomerase activity, telomere length, and gene expression related to tumorigenesis. An in vivo tumorigenesis assay was also carried out. In long-term expanded hMSCs, the cells became aged above PD 30 and their adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation potential decreased. Telomerase activity unchanged whereas telomere length decreased and karyotypes were not changed. Gene expressions related to tumorigenesis decreased in proportion as the PD of hMSCs increased. In vivo transplantation of long-term cultured hMSCs to nude mice did not result in tumor formation. These findings suggest that diverse tests for cellular therapy should be considered during the ex vivo culture of hMSCs, particularly when a prolonged and extended propagation period is required.
Key wordsHuman mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) Efficacy Safety Long-term culture Ex vivo expansion Population doubling (PD)
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