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Mesenchymal precursor cells in the blood of normal individuals

Nathan J Zvaifler1, Lilla Marinova-Mutafchieva2, Gill Adams2, Christopher J Edwards2, Jill Moss3, Jan A Burger1 and Ravinder N Maini23

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA

2 Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London, UK

3 Department of Pathology and Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, Charing Cross Hospital, London, UK

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Arthritis Res 2000, 2:477-488  doi:10.1186/ar130

Published: 31 August 2000


Mesenchymal precursor cells found in the blood (BMPCs) of normal persons adhere to plastic and glass and proliferate logarithmically in DMEM-20% fetal calf serum (FCS) without growth factors. They form cells with fibroblast-like and stromal morphology, which is not affected by eliminating CD34, CD3, or CD14 cells. Osteogenic supplements (dexamethasone, ascorbic acid, and β-glycerophosphate) added to the culture inhibited fibroblast formation, and BMPCs assumed the cuboidal shape of osteoblasts. After 5 days in supplemented medium, the elutriated cells displayed alkaline phosphatase (AP), and the addition of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)2 (1 ng) doubled AP production (P < 0.04). Two weeks later, 30% of the cells were very large and reacted with anti-osteocalcin antibody. The same cultures also contained sudanophlic adipocytes and multinucleated giant cells that stained for tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) and vitronectin receptors. Cultured BMPCs immunostain with antibodies to vimentin, type I collagen, and BMP receptors, heterodimeric structures expressed on mesenchymal lineage cells. In addition, BMPCs stain with anti-CD105 (endoglin), a putative marker for bone-marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

adipocytes; bone marrow progenitor cells; bone morphogenetic protein receptors; CD34; mesenchymal precursor cells; osteoblasts; osteoclasts; rheumatoid arthritis; SDF-1