Reasons for performing the study
Stem cell therapies are used routinely in equine practice. Most published reports characterise stem cells derived from younger horses; however, middle-aged horses are often in athletic performance, and experience degenerative medical conditions. Thus, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from this group should be investigated.
To describe differences in in vitro adherence, proliferation and potential for differentiation of equine bone marrow-derived MSCs (equine BMMSCs) harvested from middle-aged (10–13 years old) female donors.
Descriptive study of stem cell characteristics.
Equine BMMSCs from 6 horses were cultured in vitro and evaluated for viability, proliferation, osteogenesis, chondrogenesis, adipogenesis, cluster-of-differentiation markers and gene expression.
Equine BMMSCs from all 6 donors demonstrated fibroblastic, cellular morphology, adherence to plastic and expression of cluster-of-differentiation markers. They varied in their rate of proliferation and trilineage differentiation. The equine BMMSCs of one of 6 donors demonstrated a higher rate of proliferation, enhanced ability for cell passaging and a more robust in vitro differentiation. Comparatively, equine BMMSCs from 2 donors demonstrated a lower rate of proliferation and lack of osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation.
The results of this study confirm that donor-to-donor variation in equine BMMSCs exists and this variation can be documented using in vitro assays. Subjective assessment suggests that the rate of proliferation tends to correlate with differentiation potential.