Epithelial differentiation of human adipose tissue-derived adult stem cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Apr 29;330(1):142-50. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2005.02.141.


Adult human stem cells are employed in novel treatments and bio-artificial devices. Recent studies have identified an abundant source of stem cells termed adipose-derived adult stem (ADAS)-cells in the subcutaneous adipose tissue. Under appropriate culture conditions ADAS-cells differentiate to various cell types, including chondrocytes, adipocytes, and smooth muscle cells. Aiming at epithelial differentiation this study investigated the effect of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) on human ADAS-cells. ATRA-induced cytokeratin 18 expression in ADAS-cells and nearly abolished vimentin expression as shown by Western blot. In immunofluorescence, the formation of keratin fibers in ATRA-treated ADAS-cells could be observed. The percentage of ADAS-cells being able to undergo epithelial differentiation as quantified by FACS-analysis was above 80%. Inhibition of cell growth by ATRA was shown using DAPI- and MTT-assays. ATRA can differentiate ADAS-cells toward the epithelial lineage. This finding, along with a previously described neural differentiation, shows that ADAS-cells have epithelial potential.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adult
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology


  • Tretinoin