Reasons for performing study: Two studies report variability in proliferation and limited adipocyte differentiation of equine peripheral blood-derived adult mesenchymal stem cells, thus casting doubt on their adipogenic potential. Peripheral blood can be a valuable source of adult mesenchymal stem cells if cell culture conditions permissive for their adherence, proliferation and differentiation are defined. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has been reported to mobilise haematopoietic progenitor stem cells into the peripheral blood in humans and mice, but similar experiments have not been done in horses.
Objectives: To optimise cell culture conditions for isolation, propagation and differentiation of adult stem cells from peripheral blood and to assess the effect of hyperbaric oxygen treatment on adult stem cell concentrations.
Methods: Peripheral blood was collected from the jugular vein of 6 research mares, and mononuclear cells were isolated. They were subjected to cell culture conditions that promote the adherence and proliferation of adult stem cells. The cells were characterised by their adherence, expression of cellular antigen markers, and trans-differentiation. Each horse was subjected to 3 hyperbaric oxygen treatments, and stem cells were compared before and after treatments. Stem cells derived from adipose tissue were used as controls.
Results: One-third of the horses yielded viable stem cells from peripheral blood, positive for CD51, CD90 and CD105, and demonstrated osteocyte, chondrocyte and adipocyte differentiation. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment resulted in a significant increase in CD90-positive cells. Horses that did not yield any cells pretreatment did so only after 3 hyperbaric oxygen treatments.
Conclusions and potential relevance: Peripheral blood can be a valuable source of adult stem cells, if one can identify reliable equine-specific markers, provide methods to increase the number of circulating progenitor cells and optimise cell culture conditions for growth and viability. Our findings are important for further studies towards technological advances in basic and clinical equine regenerative medicine.