Harris VK, Faroqui R, Vyshkina T, and Sadiq SA. Stem Cells Translational Medicine. 2012; 1(7): 536-547.
Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell-derived neural progenitors (MSC-NPs) are a potential therapeutic source of cells that have been shown to be efficacious in a preclinical model of multiple sclerosis (MS). To examine the feasibility of using MSC-NPs as an autologous source of cells to promote central nervous system (CNS) repair in MS, this study characterized human MSC-NPs from a panel of both MS and non-MS donors. Expanded MSCs showed similar characteristics in terms of growth and cell surface phenotype, regardless of the donor disease status. MSC-NPs derived from all MSCs showed a consistent pattern of gene expression changes that correlated with neural commitment and increased homogeneity. Furthermore, the reduced expression of mesodermal markers and reduced capacity for adipogenic or osteogenic differentiation in MSC-NPs compared with MSCs suggested that MSC-NPs have reduced potential of unwanted mesodermal differentiation upon CNS transplantation. The immunoregulatory function of MSC-NPs was similar to that of MSCs in their ability to suppress T-cell proliferation and to promote expansion of FoxP3-positive T regulatory cells in vitro. In addition, MSC-NPs promoted oligodendroglial differentiation from brain-derived neural stem cells that correlated with the secretion of bioactive factors. Our results provide a set of identity characteristics for autologous MSC-NPs and suggest that the in vitro immunoregulatory and trophic properties of these cells may have therapeutic value in the treatment of MS.