Platelet lysates promote mesenchymal stem cell expansion: a safety substitute for animal serum in cell-based therapy applications

J Cell Physiol. 2005 Nov;205(2):228-36. doi: 10.1002/jcp.20391.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are considered as emergent "universal" cells and various tissue repair programs using MSCs are in development. In vitro expansion of MSCs is conventionally achieved in medium containing fetal calf serum (FCS) and is increased by addition of growth factors. However, for widespread clinical applications, contact of MSCs with FCS must be minimized since it is a putative source of prion or virus transmission. Therefore, because platelets are a natural source of growth factors, we sought to investigate in vitro MSC expansion in response to platelet lysates (PL) obtained from platelet-rich plasma. Human MSCs were expanded in FCS (+/-bFGF)- or PL-supplemented medium through a process of subculture. We demonstrated that PL-containing medium is enriched by growth factors (platelet-derived growth factors (PDGFs), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), transforming growth factor (TGF-beta), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) ...) and showed that PL is able to promote MSC expansion, to decrease the time required to reach confluence, and to increase CFU-F size, as compared to the FCS medium. Furthermore, we demonstrated that MSCs cultured in the presence of PL maintain their osteogenic, chondrogenic, and adipogenic differentiation properties and retain their immunosuppressive activity. Therefore, we propose that PL may be a powerful and safe substitute for FCS in development of tissue- and cellular-engineered products in clinical settings using MSCs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / physiology*
  • Blood Substitutes / adverse effects*
  • Cell Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Growth Substances / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Kinetics
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Substitutes
  • Cell Extracts
  • Growth Substances