Isolation and characterization of antler-derived multipotent stem cells

Cell Transplant. 2014;23(7):831-43. doi: 10.3727/096368912X661391. Epub 2013 Jan 2.


Recent studies have reported that stem cells can be isolated from various tissues such as bone marrow, fatty tissue, umbilical cord blood, Wharton's jelly, and placenta. These types of stem cell studies have also arisen in veterinary medicine. Deer antlers show a seasonal regrowth of tissue, an unusual feature in mammals. Antler tissue therefore might offer a source of stem cells. To explore the possibility of stem cell populations within deer antlers, we isolated and successfully cultured antler-derived multipotent stem cells (MSCs). Antler MSCs were maintained in a growth medium, and the proliferation potential was measured via an assay called the cumulative population doubling level. Immunophenotyping and immunostaining revealed the intrinsic characteristic stem cell markers of antler MSCs. To confirm the ability to differentiate, we conducted osteogenic, adipogenic, and chondrogenic induction under the respective differentiation conditions. We discovered that antler MSCs have the ability to differentiate into multiple lineages. In conclusion, our results show that deer antler tissue may contain MSCs and therefore may be a potential source for veterinary regenerative therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Antlers / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrogenesis / drug effects
  • Culture Media / pharmacology
  • Deer
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / pharmacology
  • Karyotyping
  • Multipotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Multipotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Culture Media
  • Transcription Factors
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I