The HOX Code as a "biological fingerprint" to distinguish functionally distinct stem cell populations derived from cord blood.

Liedtke S, Buchheiser A, Bosch J, Bosse F, Kruse F, Zhao X, Santourlidis S, Kögler G

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have been isolated from almost every adult tissue. In cord blood (CB), different non-hematopoietic CD45-, CD34- adherent cell populations can be generated: the cord blood derived MSC (CB-MSC), that behave almost like MSC from bone marrow (BM-MSC), and unrestricted somatic stem cells (USSC) which show a distinct differentiation potential into all three germ layers. However, distinguishing these populations easily by molecular markers is still a concern. In this study we were able to present the HOX expression pattern of USSC, CB-MSC and BM-MSC, which in fact allows a discrimination of these populations. Briefly, RT-PCR analysis of the HOX code revealed a high similarity between BM-MSC and CB-MSC, which are both HOX-positive, whereas USSC resembled H9 embryonic stem cells HOX-negative.Especially HOXA9, HOXB7, HOXC10 and HOXD8 are good candidate markers to discriminate MSC from USSC. Thus, our data suggest that the "biological fingerprint" based on the HOX code can be used to distinguish functionally distinct MSC populations derived from bone marrow and cord blood.

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July, 2010



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