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Keywords:

  • adipose tissue;
  • cancer;
  • mesenchymal stem cells

Abstract

Adipose tissue is an attractive source of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) with potential applications in reconstructive plastic surgery and regenerative medicine. The aim of this study was to characterise human adipose tissue MSCs (ASCs) derived from healthy individuals and cancer patients and to compare their interactions with tumour cells. ASCs were isolated from adipose tissue of healthy donors, breast cancer-adjacent adipose tissue of breast cancer patients and tumour-adjacent adipose tissue of non-breast cancer patients. Their proliferation, differentiation, immunophenotype and gene expression were assessed and effects on the proliferation of human breast cancer cell line MCF-7 compared. ASCs from all sources exhibited similar morphology, proliferative and differentiation potential, showing the characteristic pattern of mesenchymal surface markers expression (CD90, CD105, CD44H, CD73) and the lack of HLA-DR and hematopoietic markers (CD11a, CD33, CD45, Glycophorin-CD235a), but uneven expression of CD34. ASCs also shared a common positive gene expression of HLA-DR, HLA-A, IL-6, TGF-β and HIF-1, but were negative for HLA-G, while the expression levels of Cox-2 and IDO-1 varied. All ASCs significantly stimulated the proliferation of MCF-7 tumour cells in direct mixed co-cultures and transwell system, although their conditioned media displayed antiproliferative activity. Data obtained showed that ASCs with similar characteristics are easily isolated from various donors and sites of origin, although ASCs could both suppress and favour tumour cells growth, emphasising the importance of cellular context within the microenvironment and pointing to the significance of safety studies to exclude any potential clinical risk of their application in regenerative medicine.