Development and functional characterization of human bone marrow mesenchymal cells immortalized by enforced expression of telomerase

Br J Haematol. 2003 Mar;120(5):846-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2141.2003.04217.x.


To create immortal mesenchymal cell lines, we transduced primary human bone marrow mesenchymal cells with telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT). TERT+ mesenchymal cells continued to grow for > 2 years; parallel TERT- cultures underwent senescence after 15 weeks. TERT+ mesenchymal cells did not form foci in soft agar, had a normal karyotype and could differentiate into osteoblasts and chondrocytes. Their capacity to support leukaemic lymphoblasts and normal CD34+ haematopoietic cells was equal to or greater than that of primary cells; 42 TERT+ mesenchymal cell clones varied in their supporting capacity. Immortalized mesenchymal cells offer a promising tool for identifying molecules that regulate human haematopoiesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / enzymology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cellular Senescence
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Humans
  • Mesoderm / cytology*
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Telomerase / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • TERT protein, human
  • Telomerase
  • Tert protein, mouse