Adipose Stem Cell Function Maintained with Age: An Intra-Subject Study of Long-Term Cryopreserved Cells

Aesthet Surg J. 2017 Apr 1;37(4):454-463. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjw197.


Background: The progressive decline in tissue mechanical strength that occurs with aging is hypothesized to be due to a loss of resident stem cell number and function. As such, there is concern regarding use of autologous adult stem cell therapy in older patients. To abrogate this, many patients elect to cryopreserve the adipose stromal-vascular fraction (SVF) of lipoaspirate, which contains resident adipose stem cells (ASC). However, it is not clear yet if there is any clinical benefit from banking cells at a younger age.

Objectives: We performed a comparative analysis of SVF composition and ASC function from cells obtained under GMP conditions from the same three patients with time gap of 7 to 12 years.

Methods: SVF, cryobanked under good manufacturing practice (GMP) conditions, was thawed and cell yield, viability, and cellular composition were assessed. In parallel, ASC proliferation and efficiency of tri-lineage differentiation were evaluated.

Results: The results showed no significant differences existed in cell yield and SVF subpopulation composition within the same patient between harvest procedures 7 to 12 years apart. Further, no change in proliferation rates of cultured ASCs was found, and expanded cells from all patients were capable of tri-lineage differentiation.

Conclusions: By harvesting fat from the same patient at two time points, we have shown that despite the natural human aging process, the prevalence and functional activity of ASCs in an adult mesenchymal stem cell, is highly preserved.

Level of evidence: 5.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adult Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology*
  • Cryopreservation
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Lipectomy
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Stromal Cells / physiology*
  • Tissue Banks / standards
  • Young Adult