Adipogenic potential in human mesenchymal stem cells strictly depends on adult or foetal tissue harvest

Enrico Ragni, Mariele Viganò, Valentina Parazzi, Tiziana Montemurro, Elisa Montelatici, Cristiana Lavazza, Silvia Budelli, Alba Vecchini, Paolo Rebulla, Rosaria Giordano, Lorenza Lazzari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell-based therapies promise important developments for regenerative medicine purposes. Adipose tissue and the adipogenic process has become central to an increasing number of translational efforts in addition to plastic and reconstructive surgical applications. In recent experimental clinical trials, human mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have been proven to be well tolerated because of their low immunoreactivity. MSC are multipotent cells found among mature cells in different tissues and organs with the potentiality to differentiate in many cell types, including osteocytes, chondrocytes and adipocytes, thus being a suitable cell source for tissue engineering strategies. We compared the adipogenic potential of MSC originated from two adult sources as fat pads and bone marrow, and from four foetal sources as umbilical cord blood, Wharton's jelly, amniotic fluid and preterm umbilical cord perivascular cells. Surprisingly, adult MSC displayed higher differentiation capacities confirmed by gene expression analysis on a selected panel of adipogenesis-related genes. Further, an in-depth molecular analysis highlighted the early and vigorous activation of the PPARγ transcription factor-cascade in adipose-derived MSC that resulted to be both delayed and reduced in foetal MSC accounting for their lack of adipogenic potential. Thus, MSC show a different degree of phenotypic plasticity depending on the source tissue, that should be taken into consideration for the selection of the most appropriate MSC type for specific tissue regeneration purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2456-2466
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Adipogenesis
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • mRNA
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Medicine(all)


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