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Human diploid MRC-5 cells exhibit several critical properties of human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells

Zhang, Kehua, Na, Tao, Wang, Lin, Gao, Qiang, Yin, Weidong, Wang, Junzhi, Yuan, Bao-Zhu
Vaccine 2014 v.32 no.50 pp. 6820-6827
T-lymphocytes, adults, chondrocytes, diploidy, humans, inflammation, interferon-gamma, karyotyping, lymphocyte proliferation, pathogenicity, stem cells, telomerase, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, umbilical cord, viral vaccines, viruses
MRC-5 is the most common human diploid cell line used in production of viral vaccines; mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is a type of adult multipotent stem cells. Both cell types share the same fibroblast-like morphology and maintain a normal diploid karyotype over long in vitro expansion. However, other than these similarities, very little is known about MRC-5 in terms of biological properties possessed by MSCs. In this study, we compared MRC-5 with human umbilical cord-derived MSCs (hUC-MSCs), which serves as a representative of human MSCs, in expression of cell surface markers, abilities to differentiate into multiple cell lineages, inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation and promotion of Regulatory T lymphocytes (Treg), and IDO1 expression in response to inflammatory cytokines, all of which are critical properties of MSCs. It was revealed that MRC-5 was almost identical to hUC-MSCs in expression of both positive and negative surface markers of MSCs. Similar to hUC-MSCs, MRC-5 was also able to differentiate into osteocytes and chondrocytes, effectively inhibit mitogen-activated lymphocyte proliferation and promote Tregs, and express IDO1 in response to inflammatory cytokines IFN-γ and TNF-α. In addition, both MRC-5 and hUC-MSCs were non-tumorigenic with an extremely low telomerase activity. Moreover, both cells demonstrated a similar sensitivity to infection by EV71 and rubella viruses, which served as model viruses, in a virus infectivity assay. Therefore, this study suggests that MRC-5 is very likely a previously undefined MSC cell line, thus suggesting the feasibility of developing MSCs of at least umbilical cord origin as new cell substrates to be used in production of viral vaccines.