In regenerative medicine using transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), the importance of regulating the quality of MSCs has been well recognized; however, there is little information concerning the relationship between the population doubling level (PDL) and the stemness of MSCs in equine medicine. In this study, we showed that the amount of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) secreted by bone marrow-derived MSCs (BMSCs) decreases with increase of PDL. Enzymatic digestion and two-dimensional electrophoresis revealed that a main component of GAG produced by BMSCs was hyaluronan with a small amount of chondroitin sulfate. Increase of PDL downregulated the expression of MSC CD markers, including CD44, CD73, CD90, CD105, and CD146, along with loss of differentiation capacity. Thus, the effect of hyaluronan supplement to the growth medium on both expression of CD markers and the tri-lineage potential of BMSCs was evaluated. Expression of CD73 and CD90 was preserved by continuous addition of hyaluronan to the growth medium, whereas mRNA levels corresponding to CD44, CD105 and CD146 were not preserved by supplementation of hyaluronan. BMSCs subcultured with hyaluronan-supplemented growth medium to PDL-12 showed osteogenic capacity, however adipogenic and chondrogenic activities at PDL-12 were not preserved by exogenous hyaluronan. These results suggest that downregulation of CD44, CD105 and CD146 might not affect the osteogenic capacity. Taken together, the results suggested that supplementation of hyaluronan to the growth medium might be effective at maintaining the osteogenic capacity of equine BMSCs.
Keywords: CD; hyaluronan; osteogenesis; stemness.