Molecular characterization and in vitro differentiation of feline progenitor-like amniotic epithelial cells

Lucia Rutigliano, Bruna Corradetti, Luisa Valentini, Davide Bizzaro, Aurora Meucci, Fausto Cremonesi, Anna Lange-Consiglio

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38 Scopus citations


While amniotic mesenchymal cells have been isolated and characterized in different species, amniotic epithelial cells (AECs) have been found only in humans and horses and are recently considered valid candidates in regenerative medicine. The aim of this work is to obtain and characterize, for the first time in the feline species, presumptive stem cells from the epithelial portion of the amnion (AECs) to be used for clinical applications. Methods: In our study, we molecularly characterized and induced in vitro differentiation of feline AECs, obtained after enzymatic digestion of amnion. Results: AECs displayed a polygonal morphology and the mean doubling time value was 1.94 ± 0.04 days demonstrating the high proliferating capacity of these cells. By RT-PCR, AECs expressed pluripotent (Oct4, Nanog) and some mesenchymal markers (CD166, CD44) suggesting that an epithelial-mesenchymal transition may occur in these cells that lack the hematopoietic marker CD34. Cells also showed the expression of embryonic marker SSEA-4, but not SSEA-3, as demonstrated by immunocytochemistry and flow cytometry. Moreover, the possibility to use feline AECs in cell therapies resides in their low immunogenicity, due to the absence of MHC-II antigen expression. After induction, AECs differentiated into the mesodermic and ectodermic lineages, demonstrating high plasticity. Conclusions: In conclusion, feline AECs appear to be a readily obtainable, highly proliferative, multipotent and non-immunogenic cell line from a source that may represent a good model system for stem cell biology and be useful in allogenic cell-based therapies in order to treat tissue lesions, especially with loss of substance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number133
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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