Comparative Characterization of Ischemia-Induced Brain Multipotent Stem Cells with Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Similarities and Differences
mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells localized to the perivascular regions of various organs, including bone marrow (BM). While MSC transplantation represents a promising stem cell-based therapy for ischemic stroke, increasing evidence indicates that exogenously administered MSCs rarely accumulate in the injured central nervous system (CNS). Therefore, compared with MSCs, regionally derived brain multipotent stem cells may be a superior source to elicit regeneration of the CNS following ischemic injury. We previously identified ischemia-induced multipotent stem cells (iSCs) as likely originating from brain pericytes/perivascular cells (PCs) within poststroke regions. However, detailed characteristics of iSCs and their comparison with MSCs remains to be investigated. In the present study, we compared iSCs with BM-derived MSCs, with a focus on the stemness and neuron-generating activity of each cell type. From our results, stem and undifferentiated cell markers, including c-myc and Klf4, were found to be expressed in iSCs and BM-MSCs. In addition, both cell types exhibited the ability to differentiate into mesoderm lineages, including as osteoblasts, adipocytes, and chondrocytes. However, compared with BM-MSCs, high expression of neural stem cell markers, including nestin and Sox2, were found in iSCs. In addition, iSCs, but not BM-MSCs, formed neurosphere-like cell clusters that differentiated into functional neurons. These results demonstrate that iSCs are likely multipotent stem cells with the ability to differentiate into not only mesoderm, but also neural, lineages. Collectively, our novel findings suggest that locally induced iSCs may contribute to CNS repair by producing neuronal cells following ischemic stroke.