In veterinary medicine, therapeutic mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) have been traditionally isolated from adult bone marrow or adipose tissue. Neonatal tissues, normally discarded at birth from all species have become an alternative source of cells for regenerative medicine in the human clinic. These cells have been described as being more primitive, proliferative and immunosuppressive than their adult counterparts.
Our objective was to examine if this phenomena holds true in dogs. Little information exists regarding canine neonatal MSC characterisation. In this study, we were able to both isolate, phenotype and assess the differentiation and immunomodulatory properties of MSC from canine foetal adnexa allowing us to compare their characteristics to their more well-known bone marrow (BM) cousins. Neonatal tissues, including amnion (AM), placenta (PL), and umbilical cord matrix (UCM) were collected from 6 canine caesarean sections. Primary cells were expanded in vitro for 5 consecutive passages and their proliferation measured. BM-MSC were isolated from 5 control dogs euthanised from other studies and grown in vitro using an identical protocol. All MSC lines were systematically evaluated for their ability to differentiate into 3 mesodermal lineages (adipocyte, osteocyte and chondrocyte) and phenotyped by cytometry and qPCR. In addition, the enzymatic activity of the key immunomodulatory marker indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) was evaluated for each MSC line. MSC displaying a fibroblastic appearance were successfully grown from all neonatal tissues. PL-MSC exhibited significantly higher proliferation rates than AM- and UCM-MSC (p=0.05). Cytometric analysis showed that all MSC express CD90, CD29, and CD44, while no expression of CD45, CD34 and MHC2 was detected. Molecular profiling showed expression of CD105 and CD73 in all MSC. Low levels of SOX2 mRNA was observed in all MSC, while neither NANOG, nor OCT4 were detected. All MSC differentiate into 3 mesodermal lineages. Following inflammatory stimulation, the activity of the immunomodulatory enzyme IDO was significantly higher in neonatal MSC compared to BM-MSC (p=0.009).
Our results show that canine foetal adnexa cells share very similar properties to their adult equivalents but upon stimulation show significantly higher IDO immunomodulatory activity. Further studies will be needed to confirm the potential therapeutic benefits of these cells.