Am J Stem Cells 2013;2(2):108-118

Original Article
Amniotic fluid derived stem cells give rise to neuron-like cells without a further
differentiation potential into retina-like cells

K Hartmann, O Raabe, S Wenisch, S Arnhold

Institute of Veterinary-Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany; Clinic for Small Animals,
Department of Veterinary Surgery, Justus-Liebig University of Giessen, Germany

Received March 1, 2013; Accepted April 29, 2013; Epub June 30, 2013; Published July 15, 2013

Abstract: Amniotic fluid contains heterogeneous cell types and has become an interesting source for obtaining fetal stem cells. These
stem cells have a high proliferative capacity and a good differentiation potential and may thus be suitable for regenerative medicine. As
there is increasing evidence, that these stem cells are also able to be directed into the neural lineage, in our study we investigated the
neuronal and glial differentiation potential of these cells, so that they may also be applied to cure degenerative diseases of the retina.
Mesenchymal stem cells were isolated from routine prenatal amniocentesis at 15 to 18 weeks of pregnancy of human amniotic fluid and
expanded in the cell culture. Cells were cultivated according to standard procedures for mesenchymal stem cells and were differentiated
along the neural lineage using various protocols. Furthermore, it was also tried to direct them into cell types of the retina as well as into
endothelial cells. Cells of more than 72 amniotic fluid samples were collected and characterized. While after induction neural-like
phenotypes could actually be detected, which was confirmed using neural marker proteins such as GFAP and ßIII tubulina further
differentiation into retinal like cells could not reliably be shown. These data suggest that amniotic fluid derived cells are an interesting cell
source, which may also give rise to neural-like cells. However, a more specific differentiation into neuronal and glial cells could not
unequivocally be shown, so that further investigations have to becarried out. (AJSC1303001).

Keywords: Amniotic fluid, stem cells, pluripotency, retina, migratory potential

Address correspondence to: Dr. Stefan Arnhold, Institute of Veterinary-Anatomy, -Histology and -Embryology, Justus-LiebigUniversity
Giessen, Germany Frankfurter Str. 9835392 Giessen, Germany. Tel: +496419938100; Fax: +496419939109; E-mail:
stefan.arnhold@uni-koeln.de
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