Evaluation of senescence in mesenchymal stem cells isolated from equine bone marrow, adipose tissue, and umbilical cord tissue

Martin A. Vidal, Naomi J. Walker, Eleonora Napoli, Dori L Borjesson

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117 Scopus citations


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from adult and neonatal tissues are intensively investigated for their use in regenerative medicine. The purpose of this study was to compare the onset of replicative senescence in MSCs isolated from equine bone marrow (BMSC), adipose tissue (ASC), and umbilical cord tissue (UCMSC). MSC proliferation (cell doubling), senescence-associated β-galactosidase staining, telomere length, Sox-2, and lineage-specific marker expression were assessed for MSCs harvested from tissues of 4 different donors. The results show that before senescence ensued, all cell types proliferated at ∼1 day/cell doubling. BMSCs significantly increased population doubling rate by passage 10 and ceased proliferation after a little >30 total population doublings, whereas UCMSCs and ASCs achieved about 60 to 80 total population doublings. UCMSC and ASCs showed marked β-galactosidase staining after ∼70 population doublings, whereas BMSCs stained positive by ∼30 population doublings. The onset of senescence was associated with a significant reduction in telomere length averaging 10.2kbp at passage 3 and 4.5kbp in senescent cultures. MSCs stained intensively for osteonectin at senescence compared with earlier passages, whereas vimentin and low levels of smooth muscle actin were consistently expressed. Sox-2 gene expression was consistently noted in all 3 MSC types. In conclusion, equine BMSCs appear to senesce much earlier than ASCs and UCMSCs. These results demonstrate the limited passage numbers of subcultured BMSCs available for use in research and tissue engineering and suggest that adipose tissue and umbilical cord tissue may be preferable for tissue banking purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 20 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Hematology


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