Choice of xenogenic-free expansion media significantly influences the myogenic differentiation potential of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells

Cytotherapy. 2016 Mar;18(3):344-59. doi: 10.1016/j.jcyt.2015.11.019.


Background aims: Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have great potential for use in cell-based therapies for restoration of structure and function of many tissue types including smooth muscle.

Methods: We compared proliferation, immunophenotype, differentiation capability and gene expression of bone marrow-derived MSCs expanded in different media containing human serum, plasma and platelet lysate in combination with commonly used protocols for myogenic, osteogenic, chondrogenic and adipogenic differentiation. Moreover, we developed a xenogenic-free protocol for myogenic differentiation of MSCs.

Results: Expansion of MSCs in media complemented with serum, serum + platelet lysate or plasma + platelet lysate were multipotent because they differentiated toward four mesenchymal (myogenic, osteogenic, chondrogenic, adipogenic) lineages. Addition of platelet lysate to expansion media increased the proliferation of MSCs and their expression of CD146. Incubation of MSCs in medium containing human serum or plasma plus 5% human platelet lysate in combination with smooth muscle cell (SMC)-inducing growth factors TGFβ1, PDGF and ascorbic acid induced high expression of ACTA2, TAGLN, CNN1 and/or MYH11 contractile SMC markers. Osteogenic, adipogenic and chondrogenic differentiations served as controls.

Discussion: Our study provides novel data on the myogenic differentiation potential of human MSCs toward the SMC lineage using different xenogenic-free cell culture expansion media in combination with distinct differentiation medium compositions. We show that the choice of expansion medium significantly influences the differentiation potential of human MSCs toward the smooth muscle cell, as well as osteogenic, adipogenic and chondrogenic lineages. These results can aid in designing studies using MSCs for tissue-specific therapeutic applications.

Keywords: GMP; mesenchymal stromal cell; myogenesis; myogenic differentiation; plasma; platelet lysate; serum; smooth muscle cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis / drug effects
  • Antigens, Heterophile / pharmacology
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrogenesis / drug effects
  • Culture Media / chemistry
  • Culture Media / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Muscle Development / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / cytology
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / drug effects*
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / physiology


  • Antigens, Heterophile
  • Culture Media