Development of a novel method for amniotic fluid stem cell storage

Manuela Zavatti, Francesca Beretti, Francesca Casciaro, Giuseppina Comitini, Fabrizia Franchi, Veronica Barbieri, Laura Bertoni, Anto De Pol, Giovanni B. La Sala, Tullia Maraldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background aims: Current procedures for collection of human amniotic fluid stem cells (hAFSCs) indicate that cells cultured in a flask for 2 weeks can then be used for research. However, hAFSCs can be retrieved directly from a small amount of amniotic fluid that can be obtained at the time of diagnostic amniocentesis. The aim of this study was to determine whether direct freezing of amniotic fluid cells is able to maintain or improve the potential of a sub-population of stem cells. Methods: We compared the potential of the hAFSCs regarding timing of freezing, cells obtained directly from amniotic fluid aspiration (D samples) and cells cultured in a flask before freezing (C samples). Colony-forming-unit ability, proliferation, morphology, stemness-related marker expression, senescence, apoptosis and differentiation potential of C and D samples were compared. Results: hAFSCs isolated from D samples expressed mesenchymal stem cells markers until later passages, had a good proliferation rate and exhibited differentiation capacity similar to hAFSCs of C samples. Interestingly, direct freezing induced a higher concentration of cells positive for pluripotency stem cell markers, without teratoma formation in vivo. Conclusions: This study suggests that minimal processing may be adequate for the banking of amniotic fluid cells, avoiding in vitro passages before the storage and exposure to high oxygen concentration, which affect stem cell properties. This technique might be a cost-effective and reasonable approach to the process of Good Manufacturing Process accreditation for stem-cell banks.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Mar 7 2017


  • Amniotic fluid stem cells
  • Direct freezing
  • Stem-cell bank

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Transplantation


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