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Hematology - Neuroscience - Physiology - Surgery

Isolation and Characterization of Two Kinds of Stem Cells from the Same Human Skin Back Sample with Therapeutic Potential in Spinal Cord Injury
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Author: Zhaowen Zong et al.

by Zhaowen Zong, Nan Li, Xinze Ran, Yongping Su, Yue Shen, Chun-meng Shi, Tian-min Cheng

Backgrounds and Objective

Spinal cord injury remains to be a challenge to clinicians and it is attractive to employ autologous adult stem cell transplantation in its treatment, however, how to harvest cells with therapeutic potential easily and how to get enough number of cells for transplantation are challenging issues. In the present study, we aimed to isolate skin-derived precursors (SKPs) and dermal multipotent stem cells (dMSCs) simultaneously from single human skin samples from patients with paraplegia.


Dissociated cells were initially generated from the dermal layer of skin samples from patients with paraplegia and cultured in SKPs proliferation medium. Four hours later, many cells adhered to the base of the flask. The suspended cells were then transferred to another flask for further culture as SKPs, while the adherent cells were cultured in dMSCs proliferation medium. Twenty-four hours later, the adherent cells were harvested and single-cell colonies were generated using serial dilution method. [3H]thymidine incorporation assay, microchemotaxis Transwell chambers assay, RT-PCR and fluorescent immunocytochemistry were employed to examine the characterizations of the isolated cells.


SKPs and dMSCs were isolated simultaneously from a single skin sample. SKPs and dMSCs differed in several respects, including in terms of intermediate protein expression, proliferation capacities, and differentiation tendencies towards mesodermal and neural progenies. However, both SKPs and dMSCs showed high rates of differentiation into neurons and Schwann cells under appropriate inducing conditions. dMSCs isolated by this method showed no overt differences from dMSCs isolated by routine methods.


Two kinds of stem cells, namely SKPs and dMSCs, can be isolated simultaneously from individual human skin sample from paraplegia patients. Both of them show ability to differentiate into neural cells under proper inducing conditions, indicating their potential for the treatment of spinal cord injury patients by autologous cell transplantation.