Equine Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Phenotype and Growth Characteristics, Gene Expression Profile and Differentiation Potentials

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Division of Physiology, Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran;Embryonic and Stem Cell Biology and Biotechnology Research Group, Institute of Biotechn


Because of the therapeutic application of stem cells (SCs), isolation and characterization of different types of SCs, especially mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), have gained considerable attention in recent studies. Adipose tissue is an abundant and accessible source of MSCs which can be used for tissue engineering and in particular for treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. This study was aimed to isolate and culture equine adipose-derived MSCs (AT-MSCs) from little amounts of fat tissue samples and determine some of their biological characteristics.
Materials and Methods
In this descriptive study, only 3-5 grams of fat tissue were collected from three crossbred mares. Immediately, cells were isolated by mechanical means and enzymatic digestion and were cultured in optimized conditions until passage 3 (P3). The cells at P3 were evaluated for proliferative capacities, expression of specific markers, and osteogenic, chondrogenic and adipogenic differentiation potentials.
Results showed that the isolated cells were plastic adherent with a fibroblast-like phenotype. AT-MSCs exhibited expression of mesenchymal cluster of differentiation (CD) markers (CD29, CD44 and CD90) and not major histocompatibility complex II (MHC-II) and CD34 (hematopoietic marker). Cellular differentiation assays demonstrated the chondrogenic, adipogenic and osteogenic potential of the isolated cells.
Taken together, our findings reveal that equine MSCs can be obtained easily from little amounts of fat tissue which can be used in the future for regenerative purposes in veterinary medicine.