Comprehensive profiling of secretome formulations from fetal-and perinatal human amniotic fluid stem cells

Ambra Costa, Davide Ceresa, Antonella De Palma, Rossana Rossi, Sara Turturo, Sara Santamaria, Carolina Balbi, Federico Villa, Daniele Reverberi, Katia Cortese, Pierangela De Biasio, Dario Paladini, Domenico Coviello, Silvia Ravera, Paolo Malatesta, Pierluigi Mauri, Rodolfo Quarto, Sveva Bollini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We previously reported that c-KIT+ human amniotic-fluid derived stem cells obtained from leftover samples of routine II trimester prenatal diagnosis (fetal hAFS) are endowed with regenerative paracrine potential driving pro-survival, anti-fibrotic and proliferative effects. hAFS may also be isolated from III trimester clinical waste samples during scheduled C-sections (perinatal hAFS), thus offering a more easily accessible alternative when compared to fetal hAFS. Nonetheless, little is known about the paracrine profile of perinatal hAFS. Here we provide a detailed characterization of the hAFS total secretome (i.e., the entirety of soluble paracrine factors released by cells in the conditioned medium, hAFS-CM) and the extracellular vesicles (hAFS-EVs) within it, from II trimester fetal-versus III trimester perinatal cells. Fetal-and perinatal hAFS were characterized and subject to hypoxic preconditioning to enhance their paracrine potential. hAFS-CM and hAFS-EV formulations were analyzed for protein and chemokine/cytokine content, and the EV cargo was further investigated by RNA sequencing. The phenotype of fetal-and perinatal hAFS, along with their corresponding secretome formulations, overlapped; yet, fetal hAFS showed immature oxidative phosphorylation activity when compared to perinatal ones. The profiling of their paracrine cargo revealed some differences according to gestational stage and hypoxic preconditioning. Both cell sources provided formulations enriched with neurotrophic, immunomodulatory, anti-fibrotic and endothelial stimulating factors, and the immature fetal hAFS secretome was defined by a more pro-nounced pro-vasculogenic, regenerative, pro-resolving and anti-aging profile. Small RNA profiling showed microRNA enrichment in both fetal-and perinatal hAFS-EV cargo, with a stably-expressed pro-resolving core as a reference molecular signature. Here we confirm that hAFS represents an appealing source of regenerative paracrine factors; the selection of either fetal or perinatal hAFS secretome formulations for future paracrine therapy should be evaluated considering the specific clinical scenario.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3713
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Amniotic fluid
  • Cell-conditioned medium
  • Chemokine
  • Cytokines
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • MicroRNA
  • Paracrine effects
  • Proteomics
  • RNA sequencing
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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