Heparan Sulfate Enhances the Self-Renewal and Therapeutic Potential of Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Human Adult Bone Marrow

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Mesenchymal Stem Cells; Heparitin Sulfate


Cell Biology


Insufficient cell number hampers therapies utilizing adult human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and current ex vivo expansion strategies lead to a loss of multipotentiality. Here we show that supplementation with an embryonic form of heparan sulfate (HS-2) can both increase the initial recovery of hMSCs from bone marrow aspirates and increase their ex vivo expansion by up to 13-fold. HS-2 acts to amplify a subpopulation of hMSCs harboring longer telomeres and increased expression of the MSC surface marker stromal precursor antigen-1. Gene expression profiling revealed that hMSCs cultured in HS-2 possess a distinct signature that reflects their enhanced multipotentiality and improved bone-forming ability when transplanted into critical-sized bone defects. Thus, HS-2 offers a novel means for decreasing the expansion time necessary for obtaining therapeutic numbers of multipotent hMSCs without the addition of exogenous growth factors that compromise stem cell fate.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Stem Cells Dev. 2012 Jan 18. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID