Indexed on: 28 Jul '06Published on: 28 Jul '06Published in: Cell Biology International
The presence within bone marrow of a population of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) able to differentiate into a number of different mesenchymal tissues, including bone and cartilage, was first suggested by Friedenstein nearly 40 years ago. Since then MSCs have been demonstrated in a variety of fetal and adult tissues, including bone marrow, fetal blood and liver, cord blood, amniotic fluid and, in some circumstances, in adult peripheral blood. MSCs from all of these sources can be extensively expanded in vitro and when cultured under specific permissive conditions retain their ability to differentiate into multiple lineages including bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, nerve, glial and stromal cells. There has been great interest in these cells both because of their value as a model for studying the molecular basis of differentiation and because of their therapeutic potential for tissue repair and immune modulation. However, MSCs are a rare population in these tissues. Here we tried to identify cells with MSC-like potency in human placenta. We isolated adherent cells from trypsin-digested term placentas and examined these cells for morphology, surface markers, and differentiation potential and found that they expressed several stem cell markers. They also showed endothelial and neurogenic differentiation potentials under appropriate conditions. We suggest that placenta-derived cells have multilineage differentiation potential similar to MSCs in terms of morphology and cell-surface antigen expression. The placenta may prove to be a useful source of MSCs.