Isolation and characterization of multipotent cells from human fetal dermis

Cinzia Maria Chinnici, Giandomenico Amico, Marcello Monti, Stefania Motta, Rosario Casalone, Sergio Li Petri, Marco Spada, Bruno Gridelli, Pier Giulio Conaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report that cells from human fetal dermis, termed here multipotent fetal dermal cells, can be isolated with high efficiency by using a nonenzymatic, cell outgrowth method. The resulting cell population was consistent with the definition of mesenchymal stromal cells by the International Society for Cellular Therapy. As multipotent fetal dermal cells proliferate extensively, with no loss of multilineage differentiation potential up to passage 25, they may be an ideal source for cell therapy to repair damaged tissues and organs. Multipotent fetal dermal cells were not recognized as targets by T lymphocytes in vitro, thus supporting their feasibility for allogenic transplantation. Moreover, the expansion protocol did not affect the normal phenotype and karyotype of cells. When compared with adult dermal cells, fetal cells displayed several advantages, including a greater cellular yield after isolation, the ability to proliferate longer, and the retention of differentiation potential. Interestingly, multipotent fetal dermal cells expressed the pluripotency marker SSEA4 (90.56 ± 3.15% fetal vs. 10.5 ± 8.5% adult) and coexpressed mesenchymal and epithelial markers (>80% CD90+/CK18+ cells), coexpression lacking in the adult counterparts isolated under the same conditions. Multipotent fetal dermal cells were able to form capillary structures, as well as differentiate into a simple epithelium in vitro, indicating skin regeneration capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1169-1185
Number of pages17
JournalCell Transplantation
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Differentiation potential
  • Human fetal skin
  • Progenitor cells
  • Skin regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine(all)


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