The clinical promise of cell-based therapies is generally recognized, and has driven an intense search for good cell sources. In this study, we isolated plastic-adherent cells from human term decidua vera, called decidua-derived-mesenchymal cells (DMCs), and compared their properties with those of bone marrow-derived-mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs). The DMCs strongly expressed the mesenchymal cell marker vimentin, but not cytokeratin 19 or HLA-G, and had a high proliferative potential. That is, they exhibited a typical fibroblast-like morphology for over 30 population doublings. Cells phenotypically identical to the DMCs were identified in the decidua vera, and genotyping confirmed that the DMCs were derived from the maternal components of the fetal adnexa. Flow cytometry analysis showed that the expression pattern of CD antigens on the DMCs was almost identical to that on BM-MSCs, but some DMCs expressed the CD45 antigen, and over 50% of them also expressed anti-fibroblast antigen. In vitro, the DMCs showed good differentiation into chondrocytes and moderate differentiation into adipocytes, but scant evidence of osteogenesis, compared with the BM-MSCs. Gene expression analysis showed that, compared with BM-MSCs, the DMCs expressed higher levels of TWIST2 and RUNX2 (which are associated with early mesenchymal development and/or proliferative capacity), several matrix metalloproteinases (MMP1, 3, 10, and 12), and cytokines (BMP2 and TGFB2), and lower levels of MSX2, interleukin 26, and HGF. Although DMCs did not show the full multipotency of BM-MSCs, their higher proliferative ability indicates that their cultivation would require less maintenance. Furthermore, the use of DMCs avoids the ethical concerns associated with the use of embryonic tissues, because they are derived from the maternal portion of the placenta, which is otherwise discarded. Thus, the unique properties of DMCs give them several advantages for clinical use, making them an interesting and attractive alternative to MSCs for regenerative medicine. © 2011 International Society of Differentiation.
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