Induction of stem cell-like plasticity in mononuclear cells derived from unmobilised adult human peripheral blood

Curr Med Res Opin. 2003;19(5):355-75. doi: 10.1185/030079903125001901.


Undifferentiated pluripotent stem cells with flexible developmental potentials are not normally found in peripheral blood. However, such cells have recently been reported to reside in the bone marrow. Herein are reported methods of inducing pluripotency in cells derived from unmobilised adult human peripheral blood. In response to the inclusion of purified CR3/43 monoclonal antibody (mAb) to well-established culture conditions, mononuclear cells (MNC) obtained from a single blood donor are converted into pluripotent haematopoietic, neuronal and cardiomyogenic progenitor stem cells or undifferentiated stem cells. The haematopoietic stem cells are CD34+, clonogenic and have been shown to repopulate non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice. The neuronal precursors transcribe the primitive stem cell markers OCT-4 and nestin, and on maturation, differentially stain positive for neuronal, glial or oligodendrocyte-specific antigens. The cardiomyogenic progenitor stem cells form large bodies of asynchronously beating cells and differentiate into mature cardiomyocytes which transcribe GATA-4. The undifferentiated stem cells do not express haematopoietic-associated markers, are negative for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II antigens, transcribe high levels of OCT-4 and form embryoid body (EB)-like structures. This induction of stem cell-like plasticity in MNC may have proceeded by a process of retrodifferentiation but, in any case, could have profound clinical and pharmacological implications. Finally, the flexibility and the speed by which a variety of stem cell classes can be generated ex vivo from donor blood could potentially transfer this novel process into a less invasive automated clinical procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / physiology*
  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, CD34