Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs, also called bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells) provide hematopoietic support and immunoregulation and contain a stem cell fraction capable of skeletogenic differentiation. We used immortalized human BMSC clonal lines for multi-level analysis of functional markers for BMSC subsets. All clones expressed typical BMSC cell-surface antigens; however, clones with trilineage differentiation capacity exhibited enhanced vascular interaction gene sets, whereas non-differentiating clones were uniquely CD317 positive with significantly enriched immunomodulatory transcriptional networks and high IL-7 production. IL-7 lineage tracing and CD317 immunolocalization confirmed the existence of a rare non-differentiating BMSC subtype, distinct from Cxcl12-DsRed<sup>+</sup> perivascular stromal cells in vivo. Colony-forming CD317<sup>+</sup> IL-7<sup>hi</sup> cells, identified at ∼1%-3% frequency in heterogeneous human BMSC fractions, were found to have the same biomolecular profile as non-differentiating BMSC clones using Raman spectroscopy. Distinct functional identities can be assigned to BMSC subpopulations, which are likely to have specific roles in immune control, lymphopoiesis, and bone homeostasis.

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Journal Stem Cell Reports
James, S, Fox, J, Afsari, F, Lee, J, Clough, S, Knight, C, … Genever, P.G. (2015). Multiparameter Analysis of Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells Identifies Distinct Immunomodulatory and Differentiation-Competent Subtypes. Stem Cell Reports, 4(6), 1004–1015. doi:10.1016/j.stemcr.2015.05.005