Research is now being focused on stem cell therapy for repair of diseased and damaged tissues. Various sources for mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been identified. The ideal source of MSCs is still unclear. An ideal source for MSCs should be one which could be easily accessed, causes minimal patient discomfort and also gives a high yield of cells with characteristic cell surface protein expression of MSCs at early passage. Thus, this study analysed the cell surface protein expression of human adipose stem cells (ASCs) at early passage with reference to mesenchymal stem cell phenotype and differentiation into cells of mesodermal origin. Adipose tissue was obtained as waste material from patients undergoing certain elective surgical procedures, after taking informed consent. Flow cytometry analysis of ASCs showed both positive and negative cell surface protein expression, highly characteristic for MSCs as early as passage 0 or 1 (early passage). Under appropriate culture conditions ASCs showed osteogenic differentiation evidenced by presence of calcium phosphate identified by alizarin red staining and adipogenic differentiation evidenced by lipid rich vacuoles within the cells, recognized by oil red O staining. Since adipose tissue is available in large quantities and has a high yield of stem cells, availability of high percentage of characteristic MSCs at early passage will reduce the time for expansion in culture, the costs involved and the risk of cell contamination. Thus adipose tissue is a promising source of stem cells for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Key words: Adipose stem cells, mesenchymal phenotype, early passage.
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