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Abstract

Mesenchymal stem-like cells identified in different tissues reside in a perivascular niche. In the present study, we investigated the putative niche of adipose-derived stromal/stem cells (ASCs) using markers, associated with mesenchymal and perivascular cells, including STRO-1, CD146, and 3G5. Immunofluorescence staining of human adipose tissue sections, revealed that STRO-1 and 3G5 co-localized with CD146 to the perivascular regions of blood vessels. FACS was used to determine the capacity of the CD146, 3G5, and STRO-1 specific monoclonal antibodies to isolate clonogenic ASCs from disassociated human adipose tissue. Clonogenic fibroblastic colonies (CFU-F) were found to be enriched in those cell fractions selected with either STRO-1, CD146, or 3G5. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that cultured ASCs exhibited similar phenotypic profiles in relation to their expression of cell surface markers associated with stromal cells (CD44, CD90, CD105, CD106, CD146, CD166, STRO-1, alkaline phosphatase), endothelial cells (CD31, CD105, CD106, CD146, CD166), haematopoietic cells (CD14, CD31, CD45), and perivascular cells (3G5, STRO-1, CD146). The immunoselected ASCs populations maintained their characteristic multipotential properties as shown by their capacity to form Alizarin Red positive mineralized deposits, Oil Red O positive lipid droplets, and Alcian Blue positive proteoglycan-rich matrix in vitro. Furthermore, ASCs cultures established from either STRO-1, 3G5, or CD146 selected cell populations, were all capable of forming ectopic bone when transplanted subcutaneously into NOD/SCID mice. The findings presented here, describe a multipotential stem cell population within adult human adipose tissue, which appear to be intimately associated with perivascular cells surrounding the blood vessels. J. Cell. Physiol. 214: 413–421, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.