Comparison of equine bone marrow-, umbilical cord matrix and amniotic fluid-derived progenitor cells

Vet Res Commun. 2011 Feb;35(2):103-21. doi: 10.1007/s11259-010-9457-3. Epub 2010 Dec 31.


The aim of the study was to compare in vitro the stemness features of horse progenitor cells derived from bone marrow (BM-MSCs), amniotic fluid (AF-MSCs) and umbilical cord matrix (EUC-MSCs). It has been suggested that there may be a stem cell population within both umbilical cord matrix and amniotic fluid. However, little knowledge exists about the characteristics of these progenitor cells within these sources in the equine species. This study wanted to investigate an alternative and non-invasive stem cell source for the equine tissue engineering and to learn more about the properties of these cells for future cell banking. Bone marrow, umbilical cord and amniotic fluid samples were harvested from different horses. Cells were analyzed for proliferation, immunocytochemical, stem cell gene expression and multilineage plasticity. BM- and AF-MSCs took similar time to reach confluence and showed comparable plating efficiency. All cell lines expressed identical stem cell markers and capability to differentiate towards osteogenic lineage. Almost all cell lines differentiated into the adipogenic lineage as demonstrated by cytochemical staining, even if no adipose gene expression was detectable for AF-MSCs. AF- and EUC-MSCs showed a limited chondrogenic differentiation compared with BM-MSCs as demonstrated by histological and biochemical analyses. These findings suggest that AF-MSCs appeared to be a readily obtainable and highly proliferative cell line from an uninvasive source that may represent a good model system for stem cell biology. More studies are needed to investigate their multilineage potential. EUC-MSCs need to be further investigated regarding their particular behavior in vitro represented by spheroid formation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis / physiology
  • Amniotic Fluid / cytology*
  • Amniotic Fluid / physiology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Growth Processes / physiology
  • Female
  • Horses / physiology*
  • Immunohistochemistry / veterinary
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Osteogenesis / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA / chemistry
  • RNA / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Umbilical Cord / cytology*
  • Umbilical Cord / physiology


  • RNA