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Adult bone marrow is a rich source of human mesenchymal 'stem' cells but umbilical cord and mobilized adult blood are not

Wexler, Sarah A.; Donaldson, Craig; Denning-Kendall, Patricia; Rice, Claire; Bradley, Ben; Hows, Jill M.


Sarah A. Wexler

Craig Donaldson

Patricia Denning-Kendall

Claire Rice

Ben Bradley

Jill M. Hows


In postnatal life, mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) self-replicate, proliferate and differentiate into mesenchymal tissues, including bone, fat, tendon, muscle and bone marrow (BM) stroma. Possible clinical applications for MSC in stem cell transplantation have been proposed. We have evaluated the frequency, phenotype and differentiation potential of MSC in adult BM, cord blood (CB) and peripheral blood stem cell collections (PBSC). During culture, BM MSC proliferated to confluence in 10-14 d. maintaining a stable non-haemopoietic phenotype, HLA class-1+, CD29+, CD44+, CD90+, CD45-, CD34- and CD14 through subsequent passages. Using the colony forming unit fibroblasts assay, the estimated frequency of MSC in the BM nucleated cell population was 1 in 3.4 × 104 cells. Both adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation of BM MSC was demonstrated. In contrast, CB and PBSC mononuclear cells cultured in MSC conditions for two passages produced a population of adherent, non-confluent fibroblast-like cells with a haeamopoietic phenotype, CD45+, CD14+, CD34-, CD44-, CD90- and CD29-. In paired experiments, cultured BM MSC and mature BM stroma were seeded with CB cells enriched for CD34+. Similar numbers of colony-forming units of granulocytes-macrophages were produced by MSC-based and standard stroma cultures over 10 weeks. We conclude that adult BM is a reliable source of functional cultured MSC, but CB and PBSC are not.


Wexler, S. A., Donaldson, C., Denning-Kendall, P., Rice, C., Bradley, B., & Hows, J. M. (2003). Adult bone marrow is a rich source of human mesenchymal 'stem' cells but umbilical cord and mobilized adult blood are not. British Journal of Haematology, 121(2), 368-374.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2003
Journal British Journal of Haematology
Print ISSN 0007-1048
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 121
Issue 2
Pages 368-374
Public URL
Publisher URL

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