Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 5, pp 503–515 | Cite as

Adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (ADSC) express oligodendrocyte and myelin markers, but they do not function as oligodendrocytes

  • Lara Vellosillo
  • Maria Paz Muñoz
  • Carlos Luis Paíno
Original Paper


Mesenchymal cells cultured from the vasculo-stromal fraction of adipose tissue (ADSC) show adult stem cell characteristics and several groups have claimed generating neural cells from them. However, we have observed that many markers commonly used for the identification of neural cells are spontaneously expressed by ADSC in culture. In the present study, we have examined the expression of characteristic oligodendrocyte molecules in cultured ADSC, aiming to test if myelinating cells could be generated from accessible non-neural adult tissues. In basal growth conditions, rat ADSC spontaneously expressed CNPase, MBP, MOG, protein zero, GAP43, Sox10, and Olig2, as shown by immunocytrochemistry and western blot. A small population of cultured ADSC expressed membrane galactocerebroside (O1 antibody), but no cell stained with O4 antibody. RT-PCR analyses showed the expression of CNPase, MBP, DM20, and low levels of Olig2, Sox10, and Sox2 mRNA by rat ADSC. When rat ADSC were treated with combinations of factors commonly used in neural-inducing media (retinoic acid, dbcAMP, EGF, basic FGF, NT3, and/or PDGF), the number of O1-positive cells changed, but in no case, mRNA expression of Sox10 and Olig2 transcription factors approached CNS oligodendrocyte levels. In co-culture with rat dorsal root ganglion neurons, no sign of axonal myelination by rat ADSC was observed. These studies show that the expression of oligodendrocyte traits by cultured ADSC is not a proof of functional competence as oligodendroglia and suggest that in culture conditions, ADSC acquire intermediate, uncommitted phenotypes.


Mesenchymal stem cells Oligodendrocyte Galactocerebroside Myelin proteins Myelination in culture 



Adipose tissue-derived stromal cells


2′,3′-Cyclic-nucleotide 3′-phosphodiesterase


Dorsal root ganglion


Galactocerebroside, galactosylceramide


Growth-associated protein


Mesenchymal stem cells


Myelin basic protein


Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein


Neural/glial antigen 2 (chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 4)


Low-affinity NGF receptor, p75


Myelin protein zero


Myelin proteolipid protein



We thank the help of Prof. M.V. Toledo-Lobo in various parts of the study and in S.M. Fig. 6, of Dr. E. Rodríguez-Martín in cytometry included in S.M. Fig. 8 and of Drs. M.L. Hernández-Bule and M.A. Martínez in ADSC multipotentiality tests. This work was supported by the Agencia Laín Entralgo, Comunidad de Madrid NDG09/14 and Project VEXEM 2014/0023.

Author contributions

LV designed and performed experiments and data analysis and contributed with manuscript writing. MPM performed experiments. CLP coordinated the study, designed and performed experiments and data analysis, and wrote the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

418_2017_1588_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (23.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 24,461 kb)


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Copyright information

© European Union 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lara Vellosillo
    • 1
  • Maria Paz Muñoz
    • 1
  • Carlos Luis Paíno
    • 1
  1. 1.Servicio de Neurobiología-InvestigaciónIRYCIS, Hospital Universitario Ramón y CajalMadridSpain

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