Obesity determines the immunophenotypic profile and functional characteristics of human mesenchymal stem cells from adipose tissue

Gisela Pachón-Peña, Carolina Serena, Miriam Ejarque, Jordi Petriz, Xevi Duran, W. Oliva-Olivera, Rafael Simó, Francisco J. Tinahones, Sonia Fernández-Veledo, Joan Vendrell

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© AlphaMed Press 2016. Adipose tissue is a major source ofmesenchymal stemcells (MSCs), which possess a variety of properties that make them ideal candidates for regenerative and immunomodulatory therapies. Here, we compared the immunophenotypic profile of human adipose-derived stem cells (hASCs) from lean and obese individuals, and explored its relationship with the apparent altered plasticity of hASCs.Wealso hypothesized that persistent hypoxia treatment of cultured hASCsmay be necessary but not sufficient to drive significant changes inmature adipocytes. hASCswere obtained fromsubcutaneous adipose tissue of healthy, adult, female donors undergoing abdominal plastic surgery: lean (n = 8; bodymass index [BMI]: 23 ± kg/m2) and obese (n = 8; BMI: 35 ± kg/m2). Cell surface marker expression, proliferation and migration capacity, and adipogenic differentiation potential of cultured hASCs at two different oxygen conditions were studied. Compared with lean-derived hASCs, obese-derived hASCs demonstrated increased proliferation and migration capacity but decreased lipid droplet accumulation, correlating with a higher expression of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-II and cluster of differentiation (CD) 106 and lower expression of CD29. Of interest, adipogenic differentiation modified CD106, CD49b, HLA-ABC surface protein expression, which was dependent on the donor’s BMI. Additionally, low oxygen tension increased proliferation and migration of lean but not obese hASCs, which correlated with an altered CD36 and CD49b immunophenotypic profile. In summary, the differences observed in proliferation, migration, and differentiation capacity in obese hASCs occurred in parallel with changes in cell surfacemarkers, both under basal conditions and during differentiation. Therefore, obesity is an important determinant of stem cell function independent of oxygen tension.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-475
JournalStem cells translational medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Adipogenic differentiation
  • Human mesenchymal stem cells
  • Immunophenotype
  • Obesity
  • Plasticity


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