Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a heterogeneous population of stem/progenitor cells with pluripotent capacity to differentiate into mesodermal and non-mesodermal cell lineages, including osteocytes, adipocytes, chondrocytes, myocytes, cardiomyocytes, fibroblasts, myofibroblasts, epithelial cells, and neurons.
MSCs reside primarily in the bone marrow, but also exist in other sites such as adipose tissue, peripheral blood, cord blood, liver, and fetal tissues.
When stimulated by specific signals, these cells can be released from their niche in the bone marrow into circulation and recruited to the target tissues where they undergo in situ differentiation and contribute to tissue regeneration and homeostasis.
Several characteristics of MSCs, such as the potential to differentiate into multiple lineages and the ability to be expanded ex vivo while retaining their original lineage differentiation commitment, make these cells very interesting targets for potential therapeutic use in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.
Recently, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been isolated from the placenta, specifically from the amniotic membrane.
However, the localization of MSCs in the amniotic membrane has not been determined.
Scientists collected, term placenta and performed immunohistochemical staining techniques to identify and localize MSCs in the mesoderm of the amniotic membrane in situ with MSC antibodies, including CD90 and CD105.
They further directly cultured and characterized MSCs from the amniotic membrane mesoderm (AMSCs).
The AMSCs were easily isolated and represented a homogenous fibroblastic morphology at early passages.
In addition to MSC surface markers, AMSCs expressed Sox2, Oct-4 and Nanog.
AMSCs could be induced into osteocytes, adipocytes and chondrocytes in vitro and show immunosuppressive effects on T-cell proliferation.
Under appropriate conditions, AMSCs could differentiate into neuronal-like cells, which were identified by neuronal-specific markers and their ability to secrete dopamine.
This finding reveals that AMSCs provide a promising source for stem cell studies and also extend the clinical potential of the amniotic membrane in the field of regenerative medicine.