Background: Studies in which mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) from the placenta are compared with multiple MSC types from other sources are rare. The chorionic plate of the human placenta is mainly composed of fetal blood vessels embedded in fetal stroma tissue, lined by trophoblastic cells and organized into chorionic villi (CV) structures.
Methods: We comprehensively characterized human MSC collected from postnatal human chorionic villi of placenta (CV-MSC) by analyzing their growth and proliferation potential, differentiation, immunophenotype, extracellular matrix production, telomere length, aging phenotype, and plasticity.
Results: Immunophenotypic characterization of CV-MSC confirmed the typical MSC marker expression as defined by the International Society for Cellular Therapy. The surface marker profile was consistent with increased potential for proliferation, vascular localization, and early myogenic marker expression. CV-MSC retained multilineage differentiation potential and extracellular matrix remodeling properties. They have undergone reduced telomere loss and delayed onset of cellular senescence as they aged in vitro compared to three other MSC sources. We present evidence that increased human telomerase reverse transcriptase gene expression could not explain the exceptional telomere maintenance and senescence onset delay in cultured CV-MSC. Our in-vitro tumorigenesis detection assay suggests that CV-MSC are not prone to undergo malignant transformation during long-term in-vitro culture. Besides SOX2 expression, no other pluripotency features were observed in early and late passages of CV-MSC.
Conclusions: Our work brings forward two remarkable characteristics of CV-MSC, the first being their extended life span as a result of delayed replicative senescence and the second being a delayed aged phenotype characterized by improved telomere length maintenance. MSC from human placenta are very attractive candidates for stem cell-based therapy applications.