Ex vivo cultures of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) contain subsets of progenitors exhibiting dissimilar properties. One of these subsets comprises uncommitted progenitors displaying distinctive features, such as morphology, a quiescent condition, growth factor production, and restricted tissue biodistribution after transplantation. In this study, we assessed the competence of these cells to express, in the absence of differentiation stimuli, markers of mesoderm and ectodermic (neural) cell lineages. Fluorescence microscopy analysis showed a unique pattern of expression of osteogenic, chondrogenic, muscle, and neural markers. The depicted "molecular signature" of these early uncommitted progenitors, in the absence of differentiation stimuli, is consistent with their multipotentiality and plasticity as suggested by several in vitro and in vivo studies.
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