Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a monogenic disease caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene, with lung and liver manifestations. Because of pitfalls of gene therapy, novel approaches for reconstitution of the airway epithelium and CFTR expression should be explored. In the present study, human amniotic mesenchymal stem cells (hAMSCs) were isolated from term placentas and characterized for expression of phenotypic and pluripotency markers, and for differentiation potential towards mesoderm (osteogenic and adipogenic) lineages. Moreover, hAMSCs were induced to differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells, as demonstrated by mixed function oxidase activity and expression of albumin, alpha1-antitrypsin, and CK19. We also investigated the CFTR expression in hAMSCs upon isolation and in coculture with CF airway epithelial cells. Freshly isolated hAMSCs displayed low levels of CFTR mRNA, which even decreased with culture passages. Following staining with the vital dye CM-DiI, hAMSCs were mixed with CFBE41o- respiratory epithelial cells and seeded onto permeable filters. Flow cytometry demonstrated that 33-50 of hAMSCs acquired a detectable CFTR expression on the apical membrane, a result confirmed by confocal microscopy. Our data show that amniotic MSCs have the potential to differentiate into epithelial cells of organs relevant in CF pathogenesis and may contribute to partial correction of the CF phenotype.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis