Specific transcription factors distinguish umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells from fibroblasts

(1) International School of Paris, Paris, France , (2) CHA University School of Medicine, Seongnam-Si, Republic of Korea

Now at the forefront of scientific research, stem cells play a crucial role in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Although noted for their great promise in understanding organismal development and potential as a treatment for various diseases, stem cell research and applications have been limited by ethical and political concerns. However, recent research regarding induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has revolutionized the principle of stem cell-based treatment, especially since certain ethical controversies are no longer applicable. In 2009, scientists discovered that differentiated somatic cells could be induced to their stem-cell state by expressing transcription factors specific to self-renewal and potency. Since iPSCs are derived from one’s own somatic cells, they bypass ethical and political concerns. Our objective is to further investigate whether specific protein markers, inherent to stem cells and their properties of self-renewal and potency, can be used to identify umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSCs). We compared fibroblasts as a control cell type because of their similar physical structure to stem cells and their lack of self-renewal and potency-specific markers. We cultured both cell lines and measured protein levels of four selected factors (β-actin, Klf4, Nanog, and Sox2) using western blot techniques. Our results revealed that these selected proteins were expressed exclusively by UC-MSCs and not by fibroblasts, successfully demonstrating that specific protein markers can be used to distinguish UC-MSCs.

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