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Stem cell differentiation in cats and people

Munoz JL, Greco SJ, Patel SA, et al. Feline bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) show similar phenotype and functions with regards to neuronal differentiation as human MSCs.  Differentiation  2012 Sep;84(2):214-222. 

Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) possess self-renewal properties capable of differentiating into multiple lineages such as osteocytes, adipocytes, and chondrocytes.  This property renders their use in cellular replacement therapy and tissue engineering.  Cats have a high degree of linkage with human genome and possess a strong similarity with human nervous tissue antigens.  Therefore, investigation in feline bone marrow-derived MSCs may benefit novel therapies such as stem cell therapy for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease in humans or ataxia or senility in cats.  The present study was aimed at characterizing markers of feline MSCs, determining their potential to develop into neurons, and assessing their ability to express neural stem cell markers, GABA receptors and electrophysiological currents.

Feline bone marrow was harvested from the femur or humerus and MSCs collected and cultured for study.  Human MSCs were also collected from human bone marrow for comparison.  Using flow cytometry analysis, cell cultures after fourth passage showed 90% homogeneity with regards to high expression of accepted MSC markers, and being negative for hematopoietic progenitor, monocyte lineage, and blood cell developmental stage markers, and negative for MHC class II.   Feline MSCs showed induction potential to differentiate into neurons with retinoic acid stimulation.  Morphological neuronal changes included neurite outgrowth that ultimately transformed into an axon or dendrite like structure and presence of synaptosphysin and synaptic vesicles.  Eventually, up to 80% of differentiated MSCs demonstrated a mature neuronal phenotype expressing beta-Tubulin, Tau, MAP2 and Neuronal Nuclei antigens. Whole-Cell Patch clamp electrophysiology also confirmed the mature functionality of the MSC-derived neuronal cells, including evidence of synaptic connections, and also exhibition of excitatory postsynaptic potential at these junctions.  The study concluded that feline bone marrow-derived stromal cells might provide a promising medical application involving nerve damage reconstruction as well as gene delivery for correction of inherited diseases. [GO]  Free full text

See also:
Foudah D, Redondo J, et al. Human mesenchymal stem cells express neuronal markers after osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation. Cell Mol Biol Lett. 2013 Jun; 18(2):163-186.