Main content area

Cellular mechanical properties reflect the differentiation potential of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells

González-Cruz, Rafael D., Fonseca, Vera C., Darling, Eric M.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2012 v.109 no.24 pp. E1523
atomic force microscopy, biomarkers, clones, immune response, mechanical properties, metabolites, stem cells, tissues, translation (genetics), viscoelasticity
The mechanical properties of adipose-derived stem cell (ASC) clones correlate with their ability to produce tissue-specific metabolites, a finding that has dramatic implications for cell-based regenerative therapies. Autologous ASCs are an attractive cell source due to their immunogenicity and multipotent characteristics. However, for practical applications ASCs must first be purified from other cell types, a critical step which has proven difficult using surface-marker approaches. Alternative enrichment strategies identifying broad categories of tissue-specific cells are necessary for translational applications. One possibility developed in our lab uses single-cell mechanical properties as predictive biomarkers of ASC clonal differentiation capability. Elastic and viscoelastic properties of undifferentiated ASCs were tested via atomic force microscopy and correlated with lineage-specific metabolite production. Cell sorting simulations based on these “mechanical biomarkers” indicated they were predictive of differentiation capability and could be used to enrich for tissue-specific cells, which if implemented could dramatically improve the quality of regenerated tissues.