Multipotent mesenchymal stem cells from amniotic fluid originate neural precursors with functional voltage-gated sodium channels

Katia Mareschi, Deborah Rustichelli, Valentina Comunanza, Roberta De Fazio, Cristina Cravero, Giulia Morterra, Barbara Martinoglio, Enzo Medico, Emilio Carbone, Chiara Benedetto, Franca Fagioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background aims Amniotic fluid (AF) contains stem cells with high proliferative and differentiative potential that might be an attractive source of multipotent stem cells. We investigated whether human AF contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and evaluated their phenotypic characteristics and differentiation potential in vitro. Methods AF was harvested during routine pre-natal amniocentesis at 1416 weeks of pregnancy. AF sample pellets were plated in α-minimum essential medium (MEM) with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS). We evaluated cellular growth, immunophenotype, stemness markers and differentiative potential during in vitro expansion. Neural progenitor maintenance medium (NPMM), a medium normally used for the growth and maintenance of neural stem cells, containing hFGF, hEGF and NSF-1, was used for neural induction. Results Twenty-seven AF samples were collected and primary cells, obtained from samples containing more than 6 mL AF, had MSC characteristics. AF MSC showed high proliferative potential, were positive for CD90, CD105, CD29, CD44, CD73 and CD166, showed Oct-4 and Nanog molecular and protein expression, and differentiated into osteoblasts, adypocytes and chondrocytes. The NPMM-cultured cells expressed neural markers and increased Na+ channel density and channel inactivation rate, making the tetrodotoxin (TTX)-sensitive channels more kinetically similar to native neuronal voltage-gated Na channels. Conclusions These data suggest that AF is an important multipotent stem cell source with a high proliferative potential able to originate potential precursors of functional neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-547
Number of pages14
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Amniotic fl uid
  • Mesenchymal stromal cells
  • Neuronal differentiation
  • Sodium channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Medicine


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