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Measured Levels of Human Adipose Tissue-Derived Stem Cells in Adipose Tissue Is Strongly Dependent on Harvesting Method and Stem Cell Isolation Technique

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BACKGROUND: Adipose tissue-derived stem cells are of great interest because of their properties of immune modulation, tissue regeneration, and multipotent differentiation. To advance development of stem cell-based treatments, determination of the physiologic concentration of adipose tissue-derived stem cells in human adipose tissue is relevant for proper guidance of stem cell treatment dosage, oncologic safety, and evaluation of efficacy.

METHODS: A prospective comparative case-control study of 20 patients was conducted to determine the yield of adipose tissue-derived stem cells in periumbilical adipose tissue harvested by the widely used method of aspiration and in structurally intact adipose tissue harvested by excision. Stem cells were isolated using conventional enzymatic digestion and by a method combining enzymatic digestion with mechanical distortion. Stem cell yield was quantified by multicolor flow cytometry and colony-forming capacity.

RESULTS: When only the conventional enzymatic digestion was used, no significant difference in adipose tissue-derived stem cell yield was observed. However, when enzymatic digestion was combined with mechanical distortion, twice as many stem cells were isolated from excised adipose tissue compared to aspirated adipose tissue. Inclusion of mechanical distortion significantly increased yield 5-fold in excised adipose tissue and 2-fold in aspirated adipose tissue. Combining enzymatic digestion and mechanical distortion, measured levels of excised adipose tissue reached 140 × 10 (95 percent CI, 62 to 220 × 10) adipose tissue-derived stem cells per gram of adipose tissue that corresponded to 26 × 10 (95 percent CI, 18 to 33 × 10) colony-forming units per gram.

CONCLUSIONS: The study indicates that harvesting by aspiration halves the concentration of adipose tissue-derived stem cells in adipose tissue samples when compared to structural intact adipose tissue. Furthermore, the study presents stem cell yield higher than previously described in the current literature.


Original languageEnglish
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)142-150
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Abdominoplasty/methods, Adipose Tissue/cytology, Adult, Case-Control Studies, Cell Separation/methods, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Stem Cells/cytology, Tissue and Organ Harvesting/methods, Young Adult

ID: 59210611