Bone marrow–derived mesenchymal stem cells already express specific neural proteins before any differentiation


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Abstract Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are multipotent cells. To explain their plasticity, we postulated that undifferentiated MSC may express proteins from other tissues such as neuronal tissues. MSC are obtained by two different approaches: plastic adhesion or negative depletion (RosetteSep and magnetic beads CD45/glycophorin A). MSC are evaluated through FACS analysis using a panel of antibodies (SH2, SH3, CD14, CD33, CD34, CD45, etc.). To confirm the multipotentiality in vitro, we have differentiated MSC into adipocytes, chondrocytes, osteocytes, and neuronal/glial cells using specific induction media. We have evaluated neuronal and glial proteins (Nestin, Tuj-I, βIII Tubulin, tyrosine hydroxylase [TH], MAP-2, and GFAP) by using flow cytometry, Western blots, and RT-PCR. We found that MSC constituently express native immature neuronal proteins such as Nestin and Tuj-1. After only five passages, MSC can already express more mature neuronal or glial proteins, such as TH, MAP-2, and GFAP, without any specific induction. We noticed an increase in the expression of more mature neuronal/glial proteins (TH, MAP-2, and GFAP) after exposure to neural induction medium, thus confirming the differentiation of MSC into neurons and astrocytes. The constitutive expression of Nestin or Tuj-1 by MSC suggests that these cells are “multidifferentiated” cells and thus can retain the ability for neuronal differentiation, enhancing their potentiality to be employed in the treatment of neurological diseases.