The enormous plasticity of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) suggests an improvement of a standard protocol of isolation and ex vivo expansion for experimental and clinical use. We isolated and expanded MSCs from bone marrow (BM) of pediatric and young adult donors, to analyze the growth kinetic, immunophenotype, telomere length, karyotype during ex vivo expansion. Seventeen BM samples were collected from young adult donors and 8 from pediatric donors. MSCs isolated from two groups showed no morphological differences while their cell growth was strictly related to the donor's age. The MSCs isolated from pediatric donors reached a cumulative PD almost twice as high as MSCs isolated from young adult donors after 112 days (10.2 +/- 1.9 versus 5.5 +/- 3.7). Furthermore, we analyzed the modulation of antigen expression in the MSCs isolated from two groups until 10th passage (77 days) and there was no significant difference between the modulation of antigen expression. In particular, at the first passage, MSCs showed a low contamination of hemopoietic cells which became insignificant in the following passages. There was a high expression of CD90, CD29, CD44 and CD105 and variable and moderate expression of CD166 and CD106 at the start of MSC culture and at each passage during expansion. No chromosomal alteration or evidence of cellular senescence were observed in all analyzed samples. All these data suggest that MSCs can be isolated and expanded from most healthy donors, providing for an autologous source of stem cells.
2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.