Introduction: Previously, we established a simple method for deriving mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC-MSCs). These iPSC-MSCs were capable of forming osteogenic structures in scaffolds and nanofibers. The objective of this study is to systematically characterize the mesenchymal characteristics of the iPSC-MSCs by comparing them to bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs).
Methods: Two iPSC-MSC lines (named as mRNA-iPSC-MSC-YL001 and lenti-iPSC-MSC-A001) and one BM-MSC line were used for the study. Cell proliferation, presence of mesenchymal surface markers, tri-lineage differentiation capability (osteogenesis, chondrogenesis, adipogenesis), and expression of "stemness" genes were analyzed in these MSC lines.
Results: The iPSC-MSCs were similar to BM-MSCs in terms of cell morphology (fibroblast-like) and surface antigen profile: CD29+, CD44+, CD73+, CD90+, CD105+, CD11b-, CD14-, CD31-, CD34-, CD45- and HLA-DR-. A faster proliferative capability was seen in both iPSC-MSCs lines compared to the BM-MSCs. The iPSC-MSCs showed adequate capacity of osteogenesis and chondrogenesis compared to the BM-MSCs, while less adipogenic potential was found in the iPSC-MSCs. The iPSC-MSCs and the tri-lineage differentiated cells (osteoblasts, chondrocytes, adipocytes) all lack expression of "stemness" genes: OCT4, SOX2, GDF3, CRIPTO, UTF1, DPPA4, DNMT3B, LIN28a, and SAL4.
Conclusions: The MSCs derived from human iPSCs with our method have advanced proliferation capability and adequate osteogenic and chondrogenic properties compared to BM-MSCs. However, the iPSC-MSCs were less efficient in their adipogenicity, suggesting that further modifications should be applied to our method to derive iPSC-MSCs more closely resembling the naïve BM-MSCs if necessary.