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Korean Journal of Reproductive Medicine 2009;36(1):23-34.
Published online March 1, 2009.
Characterization of Umbilical Cord-derived Stem Cells during Expansion in Vitro.
Seah Park, Hyun Mi Kang, Jinyeong Heo, Jinah Yoon, Haekwon Kim
Department of Biotechnology, College of Natural Science, Seoul Women's University, Seoul, Korea.
S: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) comprise a promising tool for cellular therapy. It is known that long-term in vitro culture of human bone marrow and adipose tissue derived-MSCs lead to a reduction of life span and a change of stem-like characters. The aim of our study was to examine whether stem cell properties of human umbilical cord-derived stem cells (HUC) could be affected by in vitro expansion. METHODS: HUC were isolated from human umbilical cord and cultured for 10 passages in vitro. Morphology and population doubling time (PDT) were investigated, and changes of stem cell properties were examined using RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry during serial subcultures. RESULTS: Morphology and PDT of HUC began to change slightly from the 7th passage (p7). Expression level of nestin and vimentin mRNAs increased along with the culture period from p4 until p10. In contrast, expression level of SCF mRNA decreased during the same culture period. Expression level of Oct-4 and HNF-4alpha mRNAs was not significantly changed throughout the culture period until p10. Expression level of BMP-4, FGF-5, NCAM and HLA-ABC mRNAs appeared to increase as the culture continued, however, the difference was not significant. Immunocytochemical studies showed that HUC at p3, p6 and p9 positively were stained with antibodies against SSEA-3 and SSEA-4 proteins. Interestingly, staining intensity of HUC for ICAM-1 and HLA-ABC gradually increased throughout the culture period. Intensity against thy-1 and fibronectin antibodies increased at p9 while that against TRA-1-60 and VCAM-1 antibodies began to decrease at p6 until p9. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that HUC change some of their stem cell characteristics during in vitro culture. Development of culture system might be needed for the maintenance of characteristics.
Key Words: Umbilical cord-derived stem cells; Stem cell characteristics; RT-PCR; Immunocytochemistry


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